Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Travel and Tournaments

Our time in Saskatoon was really good! Hard, but good. So many things happened that reminded us that we were there for more than badminton, that badminton is simply a context that God is using to grow His kingdom! Travel both ways went remarkably well, though we had a near miss in Winnipeg at 3 am when someone drove through a red light and almost broadsided us. After that we weren't sleepy at all.

As far as results, Kevin did well. He made second round in mixed and lost to a very strong pair who took second in the tournament. In men's singles and doubles he played semis in the consul round.

Garry is in Denver this week, learning more about doing aviation audits! I talked to him last evening and it sounds like he is learning lots and making some great connections. This training is helping him know how to better focus his energy on safety in our flight programs. Opportunities in a unique context.

Here at home we are working hard at school, Kevin is taking some driving lessons, and Kaleb is trying to get his bicycle from the Philippines working. I am also trying to get caught up on some house stuff, putting things away that are still waiting for attention since our shipment arrived two weeks ago. We are all ready for some routine, though routine itself seems quite elusive.

Life here is very much life in the Philippines in the ways that matter. There are seemingly endless opportunities to bring the reality of God to bear on our lives, and that process affects those around us. We share His truth with the people around us, and they choose what they will do with it. The need for that truth is profound in every life, just as it is in our lives. And another similarity-- what really matters is how we interact with friends and strangers, and that isn't really appropriate fodder for a blog!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Yup. I'm in Saskatoon, sitting in yet another badminton court in yet another city. It's weird, really. I, who hate to drive somehow volunteered to bring a van of people to Saskatoon. I thought it was about 5 hours away from home... it's more like 10. But somehow it seems this is something God is doing. Why? I'm not sure. In fact, I'm not even sure WHAT He is doing, but  it was clear to both Garry and I that Kevin and I should come here. So, God has a plan. What a good feeling. What a comfort!

With the way life is, I was pretty overwhelmed when I realized how far we were coming. (My preference is to not drive to the city, which is a mere hour away!) With the way God is, our "riders" did most of the driving! With the way life is, I had never even considered that it could be truly cold and snowy. With the way God is, we drove through some snow and there's some on the ground here, but it's all been fine.

We've enjoyed this week with Garry's sister and her family from Texas. What fun to get together, to see our sons hang out together, to spend time talking and catching up. What fun to simply be family, to walk a bit together on the journey of life towards God.

Garry heads out to Denver for a seminar on Sunday. More about that next time. For now, I need to go watch a game:).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chaos and Order

 The crates finally arrived in our garage on Monday morning! I thought maybe the smell of the Philippines would have accompanied our things, but the most prevalent odour was definitely from the fumigating process!

There are a lot of ways unpack things. It doesn't seem to matter how you do it, those neat packages that arrive at your destination turn into a rather large mess that needs to be cleaned up! I've tried various ways of unpacking, and to date my preference is to get everything out and organised by room. Then we take the piles to various rooms and put things away. Rather messy in the central "unpack space", but it seems to work. (And it keeps the mess more or less in one place.)

Thankfully, the mess in our dining room is now cleaned up! I still have a couple of rooms with piles, but most things have found a resting place for the next while!

Each of us got things from the crate that we've been missing, things we wanted to use right away! Kaleb found his Lego collection which has become a small town with a crowd running away from McDonald's for an undefined reason. Kevin has a pretty impressive display of badminton trophies and memorabilia. I'm enjoying my coffee grinder and Garry is thankful for the tools he brought. In the end, though, it's still just stuff. Things we use and enjoy, but just stuff that is here today and gone tomorrow.

As we finish another week of school today, I'm thankful that things are slowly getting more settled. We've been enjoying the curriculum we're using this year, which is a gift in the middle of so much chaos and change. Friends have taken me for coffee and dinner and I've been blessed by their insight and encouragement as they helped me make sense of a life that is so often foreign to me. Texts encourage me to hang on to Jesus, and phone calls remind me of what's really important in life. A friend invited me to scrapbook for a day and I was blessed. Some moments are peaceful and some have been chaotic, we've been tired and over-extended, we've been blessed and excited, we've been both homesick and thankful to be here. I guess it's the way of life.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

More stuff...

More stuff! That's what we're getting at our house! Our small shipment from Arizona arrived in Fargo on Tuesday morning, and we picked it up that afternoon. As well as getting our things, we also had a great evening with new friends. Bret & Sheri took us to a great Mexican place for dinner and we LOVED connecting with them, hearing their hearts for what God is doing and the things He has taught them along the way. We arrived home around 1 am, tired but blessed and encouraged.

Thursday our shipment from the Philippines arrived in Winnipeg, and Friday afternoon we went into the city to present our paperwork to customs for clearance. It all went very well, and we are expecting our crates to be delivered to our home in Kleefeld on Monday morning!

This is the first time that all our belongings have been in one country since we got married 20 years ago! It's pretty cool... and somewhat scary. We've never really "settled down", we've always been between places, on our way somewhere at some point-- whether that was anticipating a home assignment in a few years or headed back to the field after home assignment.

So, getting all our "stuff" in one place feels significant in some interesting ways. But it is, after all, just stuff. Neither our identity nor our value is wrapped up in the things that are arriving at our house, though hopefully some of them will help us be more efficient at what we feel called to do.

Garry is looking forward to having a few more tools here. I am looking forward to having a fully-functional kitchen and the boys are looking forward to having some of their favourite things to use and enjoy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Opportunities sometimes seem endless. Opportunities to love people, to serve people, to invest in eternity, to be a part of what God is doing. It's really one of the most amazing things about being God's children-- He is continually growing us while giving us opportunities to be used in His epic plan!

Garry had a lot of wonderful opportunities while he was in Arizona, opportunities to encourage, bless, and admonish. Opportunities to be a part of what God is doing through NTM Aviation. Opportunities to be a part of making plans for the future of NTM Aviation and especially for the Safety Program we are just beginning. Please continue to pray for us as we ask God to unfold His plans, to bring clarity, and to keep our hearts focused on Him alone!

Kevin also had opportunity to play a badminton tournament last weekend. Besides playing he had opportunity to interact with a number of people, some of whom assured us that there are opportunities to invest in people's eternities through badminton. While the badminton community is a very moral community, it doesn't seem that there are a lot of Christ-followers there, so the opportunity to live out faith in a meaningful way in that community is huge.

I had an opportunity earlier this week to spend the morning with moms of preschool kids. What fun to see little people running around and also to interact with the moms a bit.

Life. It does, in fact, provide endless opportunities to live in faith and grace. As we rub shoulders with friends and family we can either help push them toward God or draw them away from him. We can focus on what He is doing or we can center our attention on the circumstances of our lives. We can spread hope in a God who has good plans for us, or we can share our unfinished stories without hope. Opportunities. Every moment we're taking an opportunity for good or evil.

Saturday, October 06, 2012


Kaleb was playing around with the camera the other day and got this photo of the full dishwasher.... rather unique and a good reminder of all the little up-sides there are to this move. Here are a few tangible things I LOVE about being back in this country....

      • the dishwasher!
      • hot running water
      • the dryer (when it isn't shrinking clothes)
      • less dirt, dust, and noise
      • the local library
      • fall colors
      • higher speed internet
      • landline phone
      • sale papers (yeah, I'm a bit weird that way)
      • unscented laundry soap
      • frozen vegetables
      • wide roads with a limited number of potholes

The list goes on and on, because we live in a country that specialises in comfort and efficiency. And many "luxuries" are relatively inexpensive here. These blessings can be a distraction to us also. We can lose our desire to get out of our comfort zone because we've made our spaces, our lives, so comfortable that we shrink from new things and places. It's a challenge and an opportunity. 

As I think of the things I'm enjoying, most of them are things that are neither priorities nor eternal. Friends on both sides of the ocean are amazing. Both continents teem with opportunities to share the reality of God and walk in faith, grace, and truth. So, while our lives have changed drastically, in some measure nothing truly important has changed, just the dressing of all we have known has taken a new shape.

Next time I hope to share a bit more about Garry's trip and our plans for the next couple of months. God is up to something big, and we have the opportunity to be a part of it! Thanks for walking this journey with us....

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


Fall, it's beautiful. This morning the boys and I were sitting in our living room, watching colorful leaves  tumble to the ground. Simple beauty. Incredibly relaxing to watch. I was reminded how blessed we are. We are loved by the Creator & Sustainer of the universe. We live in abundance. We are blessed by friends who care about us and push us toward God.

I've been amazed once more at the way God has created us with an ability to adapt, to change, to grow.  Thinking back a week or a month, every task, every moment, was such a stretch. Today I realised there are a number of things I can do intuitively, places I can be (not necessarily get to!) without a lot of stress. It hit me that I've passed a marker of adjustment-- I can actually conceive doing more than surviving here: I might actually LIVE here. I can begin to think about bigger things than getting through the day, at least at times. It's amazing, really!

Garry gets home tomorrow evening, a time we're all eagerly anticipating. His time in Arizona has been blessed, and we trust He has also been able to bless others. We are looking forward to getting our shipment from the Philippines later this week hopefully, and our stuff from Arizona should arrive next week. Life was never meant to fit into neat little boxes, but the bit of order we're getting is a huge blessing!