Thursday, July 28, 2011

Good morning from Wisconsin! We are really enjoying our time here with my parents and younger brother and his family. What fun to to get to know our nieces and nephews again and catch up with the adults! We are staying in a lovely cabin on the lake that some friends of Jonathan's lent us. We are truly blessed by this time together.

We had a great trip here, after a rather rough beginning in Manila. We checked in and were told they couldn't give us a seat, but we should go directly to the gate so we could ask them to seat us together as a family since the plane was full and if we delayed we may be separated. OK. Only when we arrived at the gate we couldn't enter the gate area because the airline was still setting up their security. After waiting a while we finally got in, but there was nobody there to assign us seats. I headed to the restroom, and was told I had to show my boarding pass and passport to get back into the gate area. And I'd have to go through security again. We decided I should wait, because Garry couldn't ask for the seat assignments without my boarding pass-- that is, WHEN the personnel showed up. Half an hour later security people came by and told us we'd have to either dump out our water or drink it. So, could I buy some? No. If you want a drink you go out of the gate area, with your boarding pass and passport, buy water and drink it, then come back through security. But you can't bring drinks in. Finally, I had to go to the restroom. After asking again, I found out I could talk to a lady behind another desk and ask for seat assignments. I talked to her, and she smiled condescendingly and told me we already had seat assignments, and they were all together. Well, at least we have seats.

Strangely enough, once we got on to the airplane, we had a great flight! The longest leg of the journey, a 12-hour flight, we were actually seated in "economy plus", which meant we had extra legroom! In Japan we were offered a very nice incentive to be bumped and travel through Honolulu.... knowing how limited our time was going to be with my family, we passed on that. Still, it was an interesting thought-- Hawaii and first class all the way!

Now, back to partying with my family!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When we talk about heading to North America on Saturday, we mostly talk about our friends and how much we're looking forward to seeing all of you. I'm NOT going to get into naming names... but I do feel free to share some of the other things we're looking forward to!

Food is a main interest at our house, what with two growing boys. We have a long list of things we want to enjoy while we're home-- perogies, farmer sausage, strawberry yogurt, New Bothwell cheese, rhubard crisp, fresh strawberries, apple pie, chicken on the grill, weiner roasts, Tim Horton's muffins, and cottage cheese.

We're not really looking forward to the mosquitos, but we are looking forward to sitting outside and biking and maybe some swimming. We look forward to enjoying LONG evenings. Most of all, we can't wait to see YOU!

On another note, I'm sitting in a restaurant and at the next table a guy is evidently trying out his new speakers. I considered glaring at him until he turned his music down, but decided against it. At least the music is better than the crazy radio he had streaming a few minutes ago!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This morning I really MUST do some packing! But first I wanted to share a story with you.. Several weeks ago Jason shared with our little support team a bit of his and Shirley's story and at our regional conference we got more of an update. They work among the Tala-Andig people here in Mindanao, and the church there is thriving. Obviously, it wasn't always so. Their story inspired me..

When Jason and Shirley were ready to work with a tribal group in the early '80s they moved into a Higaonan village and learned the language. They left for a field conference one year totally prepared to begin teaching the people God's story. In fact, they told the tribal people that when they returned they would begin teaching. God had other plans. When they arrived home after field conference their house had been ransacked and everything stolen or destroyed. What now?!

Obviously, they couldn't minister if the people did not want them. They moved to town to decide where they would go next. They were seriously considering going home to Australia, but finally decided they would stay and work in another location. Jason ended up making contact with the Tala-Andig, and the Tala-Andig agreed to be taught God's message.

He returned to town and excitedly told Shirley that in 2 weeks they would move into the tribe-- the tribal people would build them a house and they would take only what they could carry in backpacks. They met some of the tribal folks on the road and followed them into the jungle. The tribal people had made them a house at a sort of crossroads, but they were the only people there as the Tala-Andig are nomadic. Jason & Shirley were totally dependent on the tribal people for food, which they brought every couple of days. However, they only had contact with about 5 families and sometimes only contact with the family that brought them food for several weeks in a row. That first time in the jungle they stayed 3 months before asking the Tala-Andig to lead them to the road so they could return to town for supplies and rest.

When they had learned the language they began preparing Bible lessons and putting them on hand-turn tape recorders which they offered to the people. Only one person would listen to the teaching! That man eventually got saved, but nobody else in those families would even listen to the teaching because they feared the evil spirits they worshipped.

Jason & Shirely left soon after the first man was saved and took a furlough. After furlough the believer told them that nobody in the original group wanted to hear God's message, but he had found a group a few kilometers away that wanted to listen. Jason & Shirley moved and began the process of building relationships again. Several people were saved, then several more.

Now there is a strong church in that location! The Tala-Andig believers go on outreaches to teach other tribal people who still live in the surrounding jungle. The believers run a school, which they opened last year. Four ladies volunteer to teach and students bring bits of food to support the teachers. The church has its own traditional-style music and many people who are faithful leaders and teachers. Wow, God!

One of the things Jason brought out was that it was always God's ultimate plan that they end up where they were, that these people who have believed would hear the Gospel. However, in order to get them there He had to take them to work among the Higaonan where they learned a related language. He stripped them of everything material so it would be a simpler thing to move into the tribe with only what they could carry.

It reminded me of how often we regret our losses when in God's economy those losses are the only way to enormous gains. That fact encourages me as I walk through real life with both joys and sorrows, gains and losses.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I guess getting ready to go has occupied my mind and blogging has taken a VERY back seat this week! We had a great week of school and Garry did some flying with the guys and got a lot of office work cleaned up. One of the things I love about traveling is getting everything caught up and leaving with a sense that one thing is done and you're starting on another. We'll see how that works out for this trip... either way, it's a nice thought!

I finally got the photos from my phone, and I just love this one of Bailey and her baby, who's no longer a baby! We are so blessed to have teammates that we are good friends with-- this week I went to Bailey's to do some bookkeeping with her and Missy and we just had fun. And good coffee and torte:). Thanks, Bailey!

Kevin is out on a motorcycle ride today, which is quite an answer to prayer. He's been wanting to get in one more ride before we go, and it looked like it wasn't going to happen. But this morning he got a text that the guys were ready for a short ride!

Kaleb is running around town with Garry, doing some errands. While he isn't that fond of doing errands, he loves the time with his dad.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Some things are beyond our comprehension, and that we're leaving for the US and Canada in just under two weeks is one of them! The story of how we are getting to go is one of pure grace, generosity, and friendship. It's amazing. We are so thankful to God for this gift and thankful to those of you who are making it possible for us to go. Thank you!

We are so looking forward to seeing family... we won't see everyone, unfortunately, because we'll only be in North America about 5 weeks. But we will get to see both our parents and several of our siblings. We can't wait to see more of our extended family and friends either. All of you who stand with us on this journey... we hope we see you!

It will be changing worlds in less than 30 hours... from here, where we serve folks who live in this environment to the world of North America.

We are starting school today... we want to get a few things done before we head out on our trip since we'll be returning after the normal start of the school year. Garry is at the hangar flying with Brian today-- and this time he gets to fly from the left seat as Brian gets comfortable in the right seat!

We've had a few pretty exciting days here, and I'll post about them later. Hopefully I can find some photos... I really did at least THINK of taking my camera, but since that thought didn't turn into an action I think I'll be limited to photos I can beg or borrow!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Tuesday afternoon and I'm enjoying my last "free week" before school starts. Actually, "free" ends on Thursday morning when our regional conference begins, but no school until Monday! I have loved these weeks off school. I've caught up on some stuff in the office and have enjoyed just doing some fun stuff with the boys... nothing extraordinary, but scrapbooking, checking out Kaleb's Lego animation, and doing some extra stuff around the house together has been enjoyable.

I've been wondering why it's been so nice to be off school. And I realized it's been over 4 years since we had a month long break except when we were moving... and yes, we're going on a trip, but this one is short and simple compared to some of the other work trips we've taken over the past years! We took some time off last Christmas also, but it was different because the focus was the Christmas season. Over the past month I've spent hours in my office and caught up on so many things that I usually try to squeeze into tiny amounts of time. I've also spent quite a bit of time with some of my friends, which has been really fun. And I've been able to do some extra cooking and cleaning projects that I've been wanting to do "one day".

The other silly thing is that even after a month and getting so much done and relaxing I can still feel stressed. The things I didn't get done can grab my attention. My expectations can be even bigger than my hours or my energy, even without school. Yet God's grace and joy are evident. I feel Him here, and it is easier to hear His voice when I have a bit more time to reflect and focus and read and worship.

So, since break is what I'm thinking about, that's all I'm blogging today:) Have a wonderful day!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Saturday morning, and a pretty unproductive one at that! I was hoping to clean up a bunch of office stuff this morning, but it didn't happen. Not that I didn't sit down at my computer this morning, because I did. But we have a glitch in our travel arrangements and I think my mind isn't working very well. All in all, maybe I should have just baked some cookies... which is what I did yesterday afternoon to get away from the office:).

The guys were busy working on the car when I left home. They changed the oil then tried to fix the back where someone ran into us a while ago. I'm looking forward to finding out whether they were able to do anything with it or not. Now Garry texted to say they were helping Joel with something for a little while. And since it's nearly noon I guess I should go find some lunch.

Kaleb is working on Lego stop-motion animation and is doing a great job with it. This morning he was reading about special effects.. laundry soap for snow, crinkling cellophane for some special sound, and finding sound clips online for some sounds. Pretty complicated, this simple animation is. It makes you appreciate all the work that goes into those minute-long clips on youtube. Which is like so many things in life-- until you try doing it yourself you really have no idea what the next person has invested in something.

Kody, our dog, is still full of ticks, even after getting a vet to come treat her. I think we need something a bit stronger. We'll try something else on Monday:).

We took Kevin to the chiropractor on Wednesday, and he is doing much better now. I guess he really got his back out of alignment. He started running again on Thursday and seems to be doing really well. Friday he had a chance to go to the hangar and help on the inspection, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Garry and the guys are headed back to the hangar to do a little more work on the airplane on Monday, so Garry gets another day away from him computer!