Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Scrapbooking, animation, & badminton

Sometimes God sends us something really fun, a gift. Such was a scrapbooking weekend for me! A friend invited me to a scrapbooking event, a whole weekend to scrapbook, hang out with other ladies, and relax. What a blessing! I enjoyed connecting with friends that were there and making some new friends. I enjoyed the scrapbooking and love having a bit more of our boys' life photo documented. The time to simply be creative (at least as creative as I am) was really energizing.

Kaleb hasn't been scrapbooking, but he loves to express his creativity through Lego animation. He recently built a whole town and filmed a fun short story. I was pretty impressed with how well he did at the story line, animation, lighting, and movements. He hopes to enter an online contest with his film, which will be a new venture for him. Creative.

Kevin's creativity is often expressed on the badminton court as he tries now strategies and new shots. He had some great opportunities last weekend to try new things and practice what he knows as he played in an open tournament in Winnipeg. He did well, placing 3/4 in two events and making quarters in the other. Kevin also loves to be creative with story, but that's for another post.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Evening with Grades 5-6

Our evening with the Grade 5-6 kids on Wednesday was a blessing! We were thankful to the club leaders for inviting us to share a bit about missionary life. We enjoyed the kids. We felt God gave us something to say, and it was well-received. Our theme for the evening was that being a foreign missionary is about knowing and obeying God Himself, and that foreign missions takes a TEAM to accomplish. Once more, we are blessed.

I'm back in the office this morning, catching up on a pile of stuff that needs attention. It seems I spend a lot of time here, but the pile is continually replenished. It's a good thing I more or less enjoy office work. And I love being able to keep in touch with friends who live far away, though at the moment I'm not doing much of that.

I just realized that Christmas is just a month away. The celebration of Christ's birth that so often becomes a marathon of decorating, buying, and events. We had a little family chat about Christmas and our priorities for the season. Everybody's favorite part? Hot chocolate and long talks in front of the tree! Which means I'd better find some hot chocolate and maybe we'll be looking for a tree. I'd like to get a real one, but we'll have to check into that. And we're heading to Pennsylvania for a couple of weeks, looking forward to seeing my parents & grandma and spending time with friends there!

Both Kevin & Kaleb have been sick this week. It's rather interesting to watch the progression of a good winter cold/flu. Quite different than the same thing in the Philippines, it seems to me. So, on to handing out pills, reading books, and enjoying the quiet that sickness inevitably brings!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Menti update

Following is a short excerpt from a message I received from Elise after the teaching on Friday:

"The mood was somber as Dave began to talk about what Jesus suffered on the cross, and how it fullfilled the scriptures which they have heard about...the ram that God sent as a substitute for Isaac, the Passover lambs which were sacrificed by the Israelites in Egypt, and many more. 
As they heard about each one, and Dave carefully questioned them to make sure they understood, they would nod, and gasp and say, "Banar! Yes! It's true! I believe it!" 
And as it all came together in their minds, that Jesus was the long awaited Redeemer, and that He had done everything needed for their salvation from their helpless condition, they just couldn't hold back from expressing all they were thinking. 
The normally quiet J** said, "Yes. This is to be believed, not just on the surface, but deep into the liver (the heart)."
"Yes," said M**, "Right to the poot atey- the source of the liver, the heart of hearts."
P*** burst out with, " I believe it! Jesus is the Saviour! Our ancestors said this thing is the way to God or that thing is the way to God. But they were WRONG!! THIS is the way! I believe it. I really believe it! Jesus paid the price for my sin. It is finished!"

What an amazing testimony to God's grace and the truth of His Word! How amazing to hear how God is working in hearts as they understand the true message of salvation! Praise God with us. We are so very thankful that God allowed us to be a small part of what He is doing in Menti by providing air service for this team while we were in Palawan. 

Today I've been busy preparing to share with the grade 5-6 group at Blumenort Kids' Club tomorrow evening. We are looking forward to what God has in mind for that time and praying that He gives us words that communicate truth to those that attend.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Friday in Menti

The snow really is beautiful. These days when I look out the window I can't help but ponder how far we've come. From the green lushness of the Philippines to the pristine whiteness of Canada. From being relatively comfortable foreigners to somewhat uncomfortable locals. From part of a rather small team to part of a large team. It's been quite the journey, and continues to be a journey.

We were excited by an e-mail we got from the Philippines this week. It reads, in part, "Friday 16th  November, 2012 is a very special day for the Palawanos of Menti. For the first time in their village, they will hear about the death of Jesus Christ on their behalf....  They have no doubt that Jesus is their Deliverer, but they are waiting with baited breath to see how He does it." 

Missionaries in Menti have been working toward this day for years, and we are excited with them to see what God is going to do on Friday and over the next weeks and months. What an incredible privilege to know these missionaries and tribal people and to have a small part in their receiving the message of salvation! Wow, God!

As we pray for our friends in the Philippines, we miss them. At the same time, we are so thankful for the years we had there and the privilege of meeting and working with so many incredible people (who are all about as "normal" as we are!).

Closer to home, Garry has been busy on the phone and in the office this week as he has been pursuing several things for the safety department. We love being part of the technical aspects of NTM Aviation and being part of people's lives in various ways. 

Blessed. That pretty much sums up a huge part of the reality of being involved in ministry, of living life with the Church, the Body of Christ. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Winter Storm

We woke up the other morning to a layer of snow, winter storm warnings, and icy roads. I knew this was coming, but I'm still getting used to the reality of winter arriving. Kevin was just getting comfortable driving, and now he'll need to get used to slippery roads. At least for a while. Kaleb thinks riding his bike in the snow is great fun, though, so at least one of us is very happy for winter's arrival!

Garry just downloaded some photos to my phone, and I thought this one of a visit to the gravel pits was fun... and a reminder of warmer, longer days.

I've been thinking about culture lately, asking questions of you, my friends, and learning lots of things! I'm realizing in a new way that our experiences shape us and change us. And that in a community where there is a lot of history, there is an incredible amount of intuitive understanding of the way each other think. While people don't all think the same, in a small community people have years to learn how one another think, and there are a lot of things that simply don't need said! Personal histories are not as quickly recounted as so many people in the community lived through that history together.

Garry has been busy with safety things since he got back from Denver. He's processing and praying through some of the challenges we as an aviation organization are facing, and God is giving him direction. It's amazing how God continues to work, lead, and guide as we seek Him for the big and the small things of life. It's incredible to know we can constantly lean on God's wisdom and direction, and He never tires of giving grace, strength, and direction. Imagine, our situation is never "too much" for God!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Denver & Home again

Garry got home from Denver late Friday night, and we've been busy catching up since then. He had an amazing time in so many ways.... he spent a lot of time with a couple of other guys in mission aviation, men who have been doing safety for a bit longer than he has. He met other believers who are serious about bringing faith into the workplace, though they work in a secular environment. He connected with a few people in the aviation safety industry, several of them Canadian. Plus, he learned more of what it means to do an aviation audit.  All in all, it was a profitable week!

Just before Garry went to Denver a friend of his took him flying! Garry learned to fly at Harv's over 30 years ago, and the two of them have remained friends as well as us becoming family friends. Garry was thrilled to do some aerobatics and have fun, something he almost never gets to do in an airplane.. Thanks, Harv, for a great time!

Kaleb did get a bicycle and he's been busy trying new tricks on it. He's built a sort of track on the yard that I'll have to post photos of after I take them. He loves the challenges of balance, speed, and technique that it takes to ride around his track and balance on narrow items.

Kevin played another badminton tournament over the weekend, and made top-level quarters in every event. Not the win he was hoping for, but good results. Beyond playing, he had some great opportunities to interact with people, opportunities to share hope, faith, and love.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Lead Auditor Training & City Driving

Garry is enjoying his time in Denver and learning lots. This morning they are doing a mock interview that they'll later watch and evaluate based on what they've learned this week. Tomorrow it will be testing.

Besides what Garry is learning, he has had opportunities to network with quite a few interesting people. Both people in the  aviation industry and people in mission aviation. As he seeks to develop a helpful safety program for NTM Aviation, it is crucial that he connects with others who are doing the same thing and have already learned some of what we need to know. We thank God that these connections are beginning to happen! And I'll have to share more when he gets home and I can get the whole story!

Last evening I took the boys to the city to look at bicycle parts to fix the bicycles they brought from the Philippines. Then we took Kevin for his badminton training. I find driving in the city even more stressful than grocery shopping. The rules of the road are so different here, and people drive FAST.... at least compared to the speeds we're used to on the crowded streets in the Philippines. It's a journey, something I'm willing to do because it's part of our calling, part of learning to live in this country. I'd like to model doing this learning well and with conviction as Kevin is also working through this process: often I simply do it with conviction and sometimes with a lot of emotion. And maybe that is OK: maybe I'm modelling something that matters as I walk through life with a sense of God's presence and empowering. Maybe weakness is a reality for all of us, and how we respond to our weaknesses being exposed is important.

I guess what I've been thinking is that life matters: not only life in a foreign, exotic land, but also life in North America. What matters is how I respond to God, people, and my circumstances. What matters is that I walk in grace and humility. What changes lives is my obedience in the everydayness of living and working and relating.