Thursday May 2, 2019

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Today we were scheduled for two shifts at the hospital, morning and afternoon. Jeff did the morning shift today and I took the afternoon so he and Anjali could go play Ultimate Frisbee (adults vs kids). The hospital shifts went well for both of us and they had a great time playing ultimate frisbee. I got to meet Ann, another volunteer who comes twice a year for 3 months. We had a great time talking and getting to know one another. But in the process of sharing about some of the places we have been, I found myself really missing GSAM in India. So much so that I rushed home to make breakfast for dinner and some Chai. Though I will say I was quite disappointed because the Chai just doesn’t taste the same.

But our family in India must have known how much I was missing them because I got some messages from Cathy. She sent me several pictures of her with various people/kids. I love getting these pictures because it makes me feel like I am back there. So in order to share the feeling, I sent some pictures of our family.

Today was a good day. No fighting and bickering amongst the children, a wonderful hospital shift, and then a relaxing evening of Uno and family fun. Days like this are easy for me to praise God and thank Him for all that we have as a family. The harder thing to do is to praise God and to be thankful when things don’t go the way we want them to. This takes courage, patience, faith, and grace.

Friday February 22, 2019

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Fridays are interesting around these parts.  They are typically the days that the local schools have their field trips so we were inundated with running, giggling kids ranging in ages from 6 – 16.  Surprisingly enough the younger kids did a much better job at being turtle conservancy visitors usually abiding the rules which most especially includes no touching the turtles.  Older kids would be told not to touch and then surreptitiously reaching another finger into the tank in hopes of copping a turtle feel.  Both Sara and Fanny had to raise their voices on more than one occasion and by the end of our morning shift I think everyone was more exhausted from playing the role of chaperone than when we had cleaned tanks.

Fortunately, Friday afternoons we have off to get a head start on the weekend to explore the island or just simply relax.  Lorna’s time with the project was coming to a close so we opted to eat a quick bite for lunch and then head over to the sand bar just up the beach to have a few beers and enjoy an hour or two catching up with our new friend.  The fishermen who also operate the bar were very happy to see us and were quick to pour the drinks and bring us some appetizers.  Sara and I taught Lorna and Joeri the intricacies of playing Hearts which they both caught on to quickly.  Meanwhile the kids got to play in the surf and sand.

We headed back in around 3 and said our goodbyes to Lorna (and Fanny who was going with her for the weekend) and then made plans for dinner.  The kids did some playing in the pool and then after a quick clean up we made our way to the neighboring town.  Sara had found a restaurant that was well rated and right on the beach.  The only problem as it turns out was that our Tuk Tuk drivers did not exactly know where it was located.  We had agreed upon a price for the ride and they drove us into the next town.  However, a quick check of Google Maps revealed that they had gone too far.  A u-turn later and a quick stop for the driver to ask some directions and we were off again.  We found the location and sat down for a nice and relaxing meal.

Nothing quite like enjoying some good food and conversation with a sea breeze gently caressing you.  We definitely found the fruits of our labor this evening.   After a long week of getting dirty, sweaty, and tired we enjoyed basking in the beauty of God’s Earth.

Saturday December 8, 2018

Zachariah 10:1 Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, who gives showers of rain to you, the vegetation in the field to everyone.

I am not sure how to describe today, other than totally wonderful. After breakfast everyone got dressed and the kids went outside for the day. The pictures speak to how the kids have gotten along here; they have all found friends and seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.

There have been games of Pass the Pigs, Uno, and Sleeping Queens (all games we brought with us), as well as playing on the swing sets and playground. Today the mission kids had the day off from school and it was a lot of fun to just spend the whole day with them. We all ate breakfast and lunch together, which I really enjoy. As soon as the meals are done, the kids are back outside to play, except after lunch when the whole mission seems to shut down for rest time (not everyone naps, but that is definitely encouraged; those that don’t nap are usually watching movies in their hostel). Anjali and David both ended up watching movies with their new friends while Lucia hung out with the girls in the kitchen. They all seem to be finding new friends and it is great.

After dinner, Jeff practiced with a few others for worship tomorrow; he will now be singing on Sunday mornings. This will be his first one, but he seems to be happy singing again with a group on Sunday morning.

Anjali had asked to eat dinner with us tonight, so the kids all joined us for dinner tonight and while they were well-behaved, I must say that I would much rather them eat with the kids so Jeff and I can have some adult time. I know this may sounds selfish, but we get so little time away from our children and I have come to really enjoy this time that we have together, as adults, with the other staff. Plus putting them all three to bed at 8:30 pm is not very easy and left very little time for Jeff and I to have some down time as parents.

Thursday October 11, 2018

1 Chronicles 16:11 “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually.”

Today was a rough day, actually, it has been quite challenging since we got to Thailand. But today Jeff was completely bedridden with some nasty stomach bug. Lucia was also affected by this too. The silver lining was that David was actually feeling better today. His hives seem to be going away and the medicine seems to really be working. This was the first day that he felt up to going out and to go to the temple to teach, but Jeff was bedridden and I needed to stay home and help with Lucia. Thankfully we brought some antibiotics with us from the states to help with their stomach issues, so both Lucia and Jeff started their antibiotics and hopefully will be feeling better tomorrow. We literally just sat around today. David, Anjali and I just hung out and watched movies. By the end of the day, Lucia was feeling better, but Jeff was still miserable.

We definitely relied on the Lord’s strength today. There have been a lot of challenges the last two weeks of this journey, between having to change travel plans, leaving electronics behind, epic tantrums and fighting between our girls, illness that seems to be lingering, etc., but that doesn’t change our resolve to continue on our path to serve others just as God has called us. And we are still all safe and happy here in our new home for the next two months.

This scripture passage is just what I needed to read today. When things seem to be getting really difficult, it reminds me that all we really need to do is put our troubles into His hands and have the continued faith and trust that He will resolve all this in His time.

Friday September 21, 2018

Jeremiah 15:19-21 Therefore these says the Lord: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you”, declares the Lord. I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.

We had a very exciting (actually probably more scary than exciting) situation today. I got done volunteering at the school a few minutes early today and Lucia wasn’t quite done, so I walked home, knowing that we live about 300 M from the school and she has regularly walked home with no problem. However, Lucia never made it home. It was 15 minutes past when she got out of school and I took a walk over to the school expecting her to be at the playground with her friend Louise, but there was no one there. My heart instantly sank. So I went inside the school, maybe I had the times wrong (sometimes she gets done after I do), but alas, no Lucia. However, one of the kids said that she was walking home with her friend Louise, which made me feel quite a bit better (Louise has been playing at our house the last few days and Lucia had mentioned that she wanted to play over at her house.). The secretary at the school gave me Louise’s mom’s number and her address, but there was no answer by phone or at their door (the door bell was broken). But after about 30-40 minutes of looking for Lucia she comes out and I know that she is safe and has been all along. Relief overwhelmed me, but Lucia was extremely upset because I ended her play date and she refused to talk with me, which means that I was not able to convey to her the dangers of what she did today. So when we got home, she went upstairs to pout and be angry while I went outside to cut out the wooden fish that Johannes asked us to do before we leave. Thankfully Jeff got home shortly thereafter and agreed to talk with Lucia about what she had done and to get through to her that she can’t do that again—she always needs to tell us where she is going. It was surprising how cathartic cutting wood with a jigsaw is!! I came in about an hour later and Lucia quickly apologized and we were able to move on with our evening.

We had a wonderful evening with some friends—Steffi and Steve and Saskia (who rides to school with Anjali) came over for dinner, as well as René (Susi wasn’t feeling well and Emma was at a friend’s house for a sleepover). We had a lot of fun visiting and laughing and the evening ended with René, Jeff and I playing poker, using the fish I just cut out as chips—it was hysterical but effective!

Thursday September 13, 2018

1 John 1:5-10 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Today was a normal day here in Schönebeck, Germany. The kids and I all went to school in the morning and Jeff went to the wall, which by the way is getting closer to completion. Nothing much happened as far as the kids and I go, but Jeff seems to have run into a bit of a roadblock as far as the wall goes. Jeff has finished the side of the wall where Carsten and his family live, but they obviously share a wall with another person. Jeff was told to go around to the back of the wall and begin clearing away the vines and bushes so that portion of the wall could also be repaired. However, when Jeff did this the person who owned the property came over to him, slightly upset and/or very confused at what was happening. Being that he didn’t speak any English and Jeff only spoke a bit of German, nothing was going to be accomplished at that time. So Jeff texted Johannes to ask for help to mediate the situation. But for Jeff, work was done for the day.

This evening we played cards with Johannes and Birgit at their house after the kids went to bed. We came over with 2 bottles of wine, ready to learn some new card games. What we learned was that Birgit was not only a really fast learning, but also a really good care player. She won just about every game. We had so much fun learning the German way to play Rummy and then teaching them how to play Hearts and Euchre. We learned that the cards have different names, though to be honest, I can’t remember what they are! It was a very fun night, full of laughter and good conversation. I am a really going to miss this new friends and can’t believe that our time is coming to an end here.