Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Friday coffee shop

I've been at the coffee shop trying to catch up on some office stuff since early this morning. Although I often feel a bit behind on office stuff, my current status is more like buried. There are so many new things to do, see, learn, and experience that it is hard to keep up with everything. Some days it's fun, some days it's downright overwhelming.

Garry is loving his new job and finds the challenges mostly invigorating at this point. He has spent a fair amount of time in meetings and has learned a lot about how Moody Aviation functions, the priorities, and some of the challenges we are facing. It's been a huge learning curve, but very rewarding. This week he was involved in Advisory Board meetings, a time for mission aviation organizations to get together with Moody Aviation and Moody Bible personnel to share ideas and vision. These seemed like profitable times as we all move ahead in what God is calling us to do.

Kaleb has been amazing at stepping out of his comfort zone to meet people and experience new things. So far he has met a couple of guys that he hopes to see again, which is a real answer to prayer, and yet an ongoing request as one meeting is too short to determine many things.

Kevin turned 20 and arrived home last week. It's been great to have him around, though coming "home" to a place you've only been for a day is interesting, to say the least. we've been busy trying to finish some projects on the house and he's been trying to get some training done while he's here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Our new home

A house is a home because it's filled with family, friends, and laughter. Our home is quickly being filled, and we are enjoying the process! We love this house and the great spaces it has-- open dining room and kitchen and a cozy stove among other things. Here are a few photos of our new place!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Heading West

It's been a crazy few weeks... really crazy. I will try to post more over the next week or so, but suffice it to say that getting our visa took two trips to the border, Kevin did well in Saskatoon, Kaleb got some great time with friends, the flu is nasty this year, and we loved seeing so many people while packing up the house.

Yes, we've finished packing and cleaning the house in Manitoba and are headed to Washington with our worldly goods stowed in the truck, trailer, and van. We got a late start due to being sick the last couple of days in Manitoba, and ended up at the border late on Saturday. The border crossing went remarkably well and we didn't have to unpack anything! 

The weather wasn't great, so we stopped early Saturday night, hoping for an early start on Sunday. It was not to be... it's been cold, icy, and snowy. I don't think we've ever had a trip quite like this-- hour after hour of stressful driving. Of course, pulling a trailer adds to driving stress, but it is challenging even in the van. So what we thought was an easy two days' drive has now taken 3 days, and we're just over half way. We're praying better weather allows us to get there tomorrow.

And in the meantime, lots of memories being made! Looking forward to arriving, to seeing how God unfolds the next parts of our journey, but for now we are enjoying a very long drive! 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

"Not Now"

I find I'm often impatient. I think I know what should happen, and if it should happen, now seems a good time. I like resolution, I like forward motion. 

God, however, seems to value process in a way I don't. He lives outside of time, and I don't think time creates the same pressure to God that it does to me. At least, that's what I'm thinking today after not getting our visas yesterday. We drove to Pembina totally expecting that we'd come home with visas in the guys' passports. However, it didn't turn out that way. There were some issues with our paperwork. We were given some advice that we trust will prove helpful as we continue to pursue what God has for us in Spokane, Washington.
On another note, our time in Washington was very profitable. God worked out so very many things, and we came home excited to continue this journey to moving there. On our trip home we were able to spend some time with family in British Columbia and Alberta. What a blessing! 

Kevin came home a couple of weeks before we did, and it's been great to be together again. He continues to enjoy school, work, and training. Kaleb is back to trail building and animation and is thankful for his own bedroom after the weeks of travel. We're enjoying seeing a few people. We're also starting the packing process and trying to wrap our minds around all that needs done between now and when we leave for Washington.
We continue to be amazed at God and the way He works out the details of life. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Future, faith, & joy

When we arrived in Spokane almost 2 weeks ago, I had very little idea of what to expect. I'd visited here once, and Garry had been here multiple times. Still, there were so many questions. We spent a day driving around with a great real estate agent right after we arrived, and I returned home totally overwhelmed. Wow, how was this all going to work out?!

Then Garry spent some time at the hangar and in meetings with various teams at Moody Aviation. He spent hours in his new boss's office. And he came home so encouraged that the enthusiasm was catching! I spent quite a few hours chatting with various women-- asking about life in Spokane, Moody aviation, and the local homsechool climate. A loan officer began to work on mortgage options and was persistent in pursuing various avenues.  We toured Moody Bible Institute, Spokane, and heard parts of how God has been working there. God's Word and His eternal truths struck us in relation to moving and new opportunities here.

In each situation, in every opportunity, it was clear that God is here and He is doing something. His purposes are becoming more clear, His calling irresistible. We love being involved in what He is doing, and we see Him at work in Moody Aviation in exciting ways. 

The future remains unclear in terms of the physical aspect of housing and many other areas, but we've been encouraged once more that God is working His perfect plan, and we are convinced that we are meant to be part of His plan here in Spokane. What a joy to see God leading our steps and bringing us to an understanding of His plans!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bozeman, biking, and travel notes

Garry arrived home very early on Sunday morning and Monday we started packing. Catching up with a few people between other tasks kept us busy Monday and Tuesday. Jet lag really didn't hit Garry hard this time, which was a huge blessing! Tuesday evening after Kevin's class we headed out for Spokane, crossing the border just a bit before midnight. I don't think we've ever left on a trip quite that late!
With three drivers it wasn't too hard to drive throughout the night and arrive in Bozeman, Montana early the next afternoon. An upgrade to our room was a nice surprise and gave us room to relax a bit. We unloaded our bikes and took off for what we thought was a nearby trail... I guess it was far away, because we had to turn around before we got there, though the boys did some fun riding anyway.

Thursday evening we arrived in Spokane and are blessed to be able to stay in Crossover Church's house! Since then we've done some house hunting, touched base with friends, and made a few new friends. The boys have done some trail riding and we've all done some relaxed riding. It's been a bit of a whirlwind few days, but many of our questions are being answered and we're learning lots.

Yesterday Kevin headed home to be back in class this morning. He had a God appointment on the way, which we are interested to hear the outcome of. This week promises to be full as we connect with various people and learn more about the area, life here, and the people we look forward to working with! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Nairobi & home

Garry just messaged me from Amsterdam! He's on his way home after a great week in Nairobi. He enjoyed seeing the program there. He was blessed by many of the interactions he experienced and watched. He got to spend some time with my cousin. He learned lots at the course he completed. He spent some time at a wildlife place and checked out a few interesting restaurants. What more could you ask for from 10 days in Africa?!

This week was about setting up and running a SMS (Safety Management System) and the various things that are involved in that. Teaching times and practice times reinforced many things Garry's already learned as well as broadening his knowledge. From the paperwork involved in reporting hazards, to incident investigation, to interviewing people, they covered a lot of ground in one short week. (And yeah, if Garry laughs when he reads this, it may be edited at a later date!)

Besides the experience of Africa and the amazing people he met and worked with, we are blessed by how God is bringing things together for our time at Moody Aviation. We plan to head to Spokane early next week to check out housing, have some meetings, and make plans to move there within the next couple of months.

Kevin has started part-time studies at SBC and is enjoying his classes. When he's not studying he's working, coaching badminton, or driving somewhere. He plans to do this semester at SBC, then transfer to a University in Ontario next semester.

Kaleb continues to hone his biking skills and is getting excited to move to Spokane and have some great mountain trails nearby. He's also been trail-building with some friends as well as making movies.

The path ahead seems unclear at the moment as we move into yet another new situation. I'm excited about what God is doing, and at the same time I wish I saw it more clearly. I was thinking the other day how this is an opportunity for faith. A chance to let the bedrock of faith in God and His goodness overwhelm and comfort me. An opportunity to grow. A chance to ask God what He is doing and see Him answer. Trial, challenge, or opportunity? It's so much in our perspective. And each moment we choose which perspective we take! And while we choose our perspective about the future, we also walk in this moment, doing the one thing that is ours to do right now!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Nairobi next week...

Garry heads to Nairobi next week! This will be a first for our family as none of us have been to Africa before. We are excited to see what God has in mind for his week there as he joins in an audit and a seminar. It's a small seminar geared toward Safety Managers setting up Safety Management Systems. The content and the people promise to be exciting!

Last week Garry and Kevin were busy trying to finish up the shed they've been building (and I think they just finished their part, at least for now!). Kevin has also been getting things organised for school as he's taking some classes at Steinbach Bible College this semester. Kaleb has been busy fixing bicycles and doing animation. Here's his little shop with some of his projects. 

As we think about moving to Spokane and saying goodbye to friends and places we've come to love in a new way over the past two years, we as a family have been talking a lot about relationships. The value of honest relationships. The purpose of living as the Body of Christ, reaching out to one another and the world. The deep satisfaction of following Jesus Christ, not only individually but corporately. Both the pain and the joy of living in community and the deep loss when there is no community. The fellowship of the Godhead among Itself. The call, the privilege, the responsibility.

It's pretty big. Universal and yet individual. What a blessing to be part of God's family that reaches around the world!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday optimism

I heard once that an optimistic is a person who thinks they can accomplish in one day what they haven't been able to do in the past year. I can feel with that. And today was supposed to be my day! The day is passing, and I think the list is growing, not diminishing.

Garry, Kevin, and Kaleb are enjoying working together on a shed these days. Kevin is incredibly thankful to be back at work after his weeks with a broken toe. Garry really enjoys getting his hands dirty after so long in the office, even though he still has office stuff to do when he gets home. Besides building, Kaleb is doing bicycle repairs and tune-ups for people, which has been a fun little business for him.

Last weekend was the annual Braun Hog Roast, a great time to reconnect with family we don't see as often. It was a  great afternoon of chatting and relaxing, hearing what God is doing in various lives and just enjoying the time together.

I'm in the school planning stage, figuring out the school calendar (Manitoba or Washington?) and finalising curriculum choices. I've also enjoyed a bit more time with friends over the summer break. So, though I have a huge pile of office stuff I haven't finished yet, I'm enjoying my summer and looking forward to another school year.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Not according to my plan...

Things seldom turn out as planned, at least in my experience. God seems to take a unique joy in surprising us, in changing our direction, in revealing His character and goodness. That said, sometimes the surprises are not so pleasant to our way of thinking, some days we can't figure how the truth of God applies to our lives, and God's goodness is obscured. And most of the time, we see through a glass darkly, His character and goodness often clouded by our desires and life in a fallen world.

Since my last post we have been surprised in a number of ways, most of them still in the unfolding stage. We've enjoyed great times with family and friends. Garry made some progress on the shed he's building and spent several days in the office working on projects for Moody Aviation and preparing to move. We loved the Barkman family picnic at the park. We got and update from Moody's lawyer, and it seems like we have some direction, and she is currently preparing papers for us to apply for a visa. Garry and I spent a couple days in Fargo.

As I said, things seldom turn out as planned.... but we still plan and anticipate. These days Garry is looking forward to a Safety Manager Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya next month. He is planning to join the Mission Aviation Fellowship team as they learn about the various responsibilities of a safety manager and discuss challenges and opportunities in mission aviation.

When Garry returns we plan to head to Spokane, WA and spend some time with the team there and check into housing options in preparation to move later this fall.

In the meantime we are loving the warm days of summer.... trust you are also!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Prairie Aviation Safety Workshop

The focus of safety in mission aviation continues to change as we seek to use the resources God has entrusted to us more wisely and efficiently. As we continue to learn, we develop a deeper appreciation of how trust on a team improves safety and how much we must depend on input from every level of the organization in order to function safely.  

Just over a week ago Garry was invited to attend a safety workshop hosted by Prairie School of Mission Aviation and presented by Larry Heintz from Mission Aviation Fellowship International. The focus of the workshop was how to set up an Aviation Safety Management System and building trust among team members. He loved his week with other pilot/mechanics, learning and sharing about aviation safety!

This was a small workshop, with usually just 5 people in attendance. Of those five, 4 were from a Mennonite background and 3 of those had grown up on dairy farms. (I've been trying to figure out how dairy farming and flying are related... I have some ideas, but given my limited understanding of dairy farming, I think I'll be silent about those!) It was a very profitable week for Garry and the Prairie Aviation team as they learned and shared ideas.

Now Garry's home again, dividing his energy between aviation safety, planning a trip to Spokane, working construction, and helping with some relief stuff in the Philippines. With all that's going on, we're enjoying the long days of summer!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Film and Faith

Over the past couple of weeks Kaleb has been busy with filmmaking. He entered a 48-hour film contest a couple weekends ago. At the end of the contest there was a screening at a small theatre in Winnipeg, the first time of of Kaleb's animations has been on a big screen! To add to the excitement, he won Best Editor! Last week Kaleb started 2 weeks of Teens Summer Film Camp. It's been a great experience. It's been a great opportunity. It's also been full of challenges.

This small thing feels like a reflection of so much of life. Kaleb has had opportunity to walk into a world he can relate to, and that has given him chances to both live and share faith. Being involved in a world that has its share of darkness has been awesome-- how often do we get a viable chance to walk with new people along new paths and live in a way that is sometimes dramatically different than anything they may have seen or experienced?

Besides this entry into a new world we thoroughly enjoyed the EMC Convention, Dad and Doris were married last weekend, and Garry is headed home from a trip to Calgary. I'll post more later....

Saturday, July 05, 2014


This week Kaleb and I have had the privilege of working with a great team of people at DVBS. This has been an opportunity for the Blumenort Church to reach out to kids in the community as well as bless our own families. For Kaleb, it's been a chance to get his feet wet leading kids in a group setting as well as connect with other young guys his age. And he's found out he loves it:)!

I spent most of my time with various other leaders, helping where needed. It was a super blessing to see these women in their world, to work with them in areas they are passionate about and feel called to. I loved the heart at DVBS, and I was privileged to be a tiny part of it!

Meanwhile, our friends in the Philippines have presented the New Testament to a local ethnic group. It would have been so much fun to be there.... to fly in visitors, to become visitors at this location, and to experience the joy of people who have God's Word in their language for the first time! What a blessing to follow the celebration on Facebook, to see the photos and hear many thoughts regarding this celebration. To consider the 25 years our friends, Bill & Donna, have dedicated to this translation. To ponder the many others who have been involved in the process over the years. To know God speaks truth when He says in Isaiah 55:11, "So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

I pray you have a beautiful weekend.... we're enjoying the EMC Convention in Winnipeg this weekend. So far, it's been a huge blessing and encouragement, both to listen to the speakers and to connect with both old and new friends!

Friday, June 27, 2014


Change is usually a process.  Looking at the beginning and the end is rewarding, fulfilling, encouraging. But the process can be discouraging, overwhelming, and discouraging at times. Our humanness loves the product, the ending, the finale. And while we are "on the way" we often lose the journey in longing for the destination. And sometimes we journey to places that we find we'd rather not be, destinations we've chosen because of their allure and find that they are just illusions. Because in the end we want God, we need God, we long for God. But in this fallen world we try to fill those empty places in a  million ways.

And why I'm blogging change again, I'm not quite sure. It's simply on my mind.... we don't know of any bigger changes in store for us than moving to Washington in the fall (hopefully).

This is a boat loaded with relief goods for delivery in the Philippines. It looks pretty big... and pretty small compared to the size of the waves sometimes. Typhoon Haiyan was long ago in most of our memories, a large disaster halfway across the globe. But for those affected, daily life continues to be a challenge. A lot of aid has been delivered, many houses have been repaired, supply lines have been re-established in most places, and much good has been done for victims. However, for many daily life continues to be a struggle, an ever-present reality of need. The Gospel is coming in with continued aid and support. Pray with us for continued spiritual fruit, for courage and hope to overcome the losses and bring joy.

Also in the Philippines this week, the newly translated Southern Palawan New Testament is being presented. A church is receiving the Word of God in one book. A celebration of amazing proportion is taking place in a small village in southern Palawan. Amazing to consider. And from here, our prayers and praise mingle with theirs, one in heart and Spirit.

Meanwhile, we live in our great little house in Blumenort, doing life. Living as a family, loving God. Taking opportunities to be part of a family camp, a school classroom, a meal with friends, a conversation with a stranger at the grocery store. Excited about God, growth, and change. Blessed to be part of what He is doing right here, right now. (And yeah, maybe next time I'll blog about some of those things!)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Swirling Minds...

I just can't get over the change of seasons... and this year seems especially fast. One day it was frigid, the next quite comfortable (read, above 25 C). Things turned green in a matter of a couple of days. From a thick coat to shorts overnight. It's just..... strange, maybe? We're loving having picnics in the back yard, walking in the sunshine, and throwing a Frisbee in the grass. It's rejuvenating. It's fun.

Garry had a great time in Alberta, connecting with various people in mission aviation. The conference was both encouraging and helpful. He enjoyed getting more insight into where mission aviation at large is right now and what those in the community are thinking about and planning for. He was privileged and blessed by spending an evening with his aunt and uncle.... And this  is where I keep getting stuck! Stories that aren't ours to share, people other than ourselves whose lives intersect with ours in incredible ways. And yet it isn't our story. I can't pass it on. So I try to keep things general, but then the blog is.... blah!

The things swirling around my mind might make for interesting reading, but I think not. The schedules and plans and lack of plans and wondering and strategising are no doubt quite like your mind. Then there are the good conclusions, the grand truth of the Bible imprinted on our lives.... but it sounds trite when I pound it out on the keyboard. 

And so, I've just blogged about .... nothing. Which is why I've been putting it off. But alas, it can't be put off forever if I'm to keep my part of the blogging bargain by writing a blog. So, I'll keep pondering and wondering and sharing my ramblings and realities. And being thankful for an amazing group of people who get on here to check on us, to know how to pray for us, to be supportive of what God is doing in and through us. Thank you:)

Saturday, May 03, 2014


Garry's loving spring-- the smells, the melting snow, the full ditches. I, on the other hand, find it messy and a bit depressing. It's a matter of perspective: Garry grew up with spring, and to him, spring is a promise of summer. I didn't grow up with changing seasons, so spring is simply today-- muddy shoes and rainy days.

Life's rather like that, isn't it? Hope makes all the difference! If we know that today's efforts lead to something good tomorrow, we are content putting in the effort. If we are convinced we're making a difference, we gladly give it our all. On the other hand, if we feel like our efforts our futile, our work unappreciated, we quickly give up. It simply isn't worth it!

In some respects, all of life is the muddy spring of reality-- a precursor to a beautiful forever. All our troubles are light and momentary, all our efforts small, yet worthwhile. The sun shines some days, but the ditches are full and the roads are muddy. 

We've had some sunny days this week... weather wise and in life. We are excited about the relief efforts in the Philippines that we continue to be involved in. Houses are being built, boats are being built and others repaired, truth is spreading. Things with Moody Aviation are also moving along. This week we turned in another stack of papers in our quest for a US visa. In just over a week Garry is heading to Alberta to network and learn with other mission aviation organisations on behalf of Moody. Kevin has been at Jr Nationals this week in Vancouver, and he has had both fun and opportunities there. Kaleb enjoyed a bit of paid work this week and is excited about his many ventures in movie-making and biking.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Time Management

I've been doing just a bit of study about time management.... and I was reminded that we can't manage time. Time marches on. We choose how to spend it, but we can't stop time, speed it up, or slow it down. We can, however, find peace in this moment. We can enjoy beauty, choose to love, and see the Hand of God in what is happening.

Some times are easier to see the beauty in, some times are harder. We get lost in pain, buried by grief. We are transported by beauty, lost in grace. And yet, at the end of the day, our choice is simply our response. God has ordained the days of our lives, and He alone is God. Our choices influence our lives, change our paths, and are part of our reality. But there are many things that are outside of our control, beyond our grasp. 

These days I feel like I am fighting with time, struggling against the limitations, out of sync with reality. I've been stalled in the process of finding new routines in a new home. I'm tired. And I've been grouchy.

But as I sit here and reflect I'm reminded that good choices are worth the effort. I don't have a choice about moving, it's already done. Things cannot go back to the way they were, I cannot choose to hide in my comfort zone. But I can choose to see the beauty, to experience the grace, to enjoy God's peace,  and to reach out to those around me. Or I can choose the other side of each of those coins. And my choice will determine at least part of how I experience each day....

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The power of a song...

There is power in song... and in smells and sights and sounds. Power to not only change our perspective, but sometimes to take us to another time and place. Last Sunday morning I was in Blumenort church, standing just in front of my padded pew, singing along, worshipping. The light was just right, the temperature was comfortable, there was enough space for everyone to be comfortable, the sound system was great, and the music was awesome. Everything was just as it should be, just as it is most Sunday mornings.

As we began to sing "Because He Lives," I was suddenly a young girl, sitting on a hard slat wood pew, singing my heart out to a poorly tuned piano. Swatting biting gnats. Surrounded by friends, all of us hot and sweaty. The air barely moved despite the ceiling fans overhead and the windows that had only screen to cover them. A leader in our mission community had suddenly passed away the week before, but he and his wife had chosen this as the theme song for our field conference. So we all sang, tears often running down our faces. I cried not for the personal connection I had with this man of God, but for his family and our community. I cried for the reality of death and the uncertainty of life. And last Sunday I cried again, this time for the blessings of life that we leave behind as we move on, for the multitudes of opportunities and experiences we as a family have had, and for the simple reality of living in a sin-filled world.

Life's like that, time sometimes stands still and sometimes rushes by. Things transport us to other times and places and we relive our memories. Or we are stuck in the present, caught in our circumstances and chores, sometimes paralysed by indecision or the magnitude of things before us. One day, beyond time, we will see things as they really are, and we will worship the King. Maybe then we will understand our memories and our present, for we will be truly free!

Beyond time travel, we moved last week and are quite settled into our new place. Kevin should be home from Kansas next week. Garry is busy with various aviation and relief-related projects. Kaleb is making great animations and working hard at school, though he isn't thrilled that he got to spend his spring break moving instead of enjoying friends and time off. I'm blogging when I'm not cleaning or cooking or teaching school. I hope you have a blessed day, rooted in the beauty of the moment while blessed by memories....

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


It's that time again-- time to move! I'm back to making lists of what can go first, the essentials we need to live for a while, and what can be packed up until we settle down somewhat more permanently. I'm so thankful we don't have to go far this time, just a few miles down the road! This house has been such a blessing, and we're looking forward to the next one as well.... actually, we're moving into a house we lived in 15 years ago, so it's a bit like going back in time!

Garry got home last weekend and it's been so much fun to hear about his time at Moody Aviation and with his sister and her family. He really enjoyed being part of the audit process,  working with a great team of guys, and getting to know people at Moody Aviation a bit better. We're excited about what God has in store for Moody Aviation and for us.... and how our paths may continue to intersect.

Now it's back to the mess at my house.... actually, I think I'm in the process of making a mess at the moment!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Almost week's end...

Some weeks feel short and some feel long. (Profound, I know....) This has been a long week. Late nights. Lots going on. Unanswered questions and unexpected answers to other questions. Long conversations. Lots of dirty dishes and dirty clothes.... but that's every week.

Garry gets home on Saturday and I'm ready to start counting the hours. It sounds like he's had a very profitable time there. I think he's enjoyed himself. He's found answers and questions. He's worked with a great team. He's learned lots. And I can't wait to hear the whole story when he gets here!

The boys and I have stayed busy with life. Kevin is training hard and working. Kaleb is studying hard and doing animation. We've had fun with friends and fun together. And now we'll just be happy to get back to the norms that prevail when Garry is home to help us go to bed on time and be more sane...

Friday, March 07, 2014

Spokane for Safety

Garry's in Spokane for just over a week, attending a Safety Seminar and helping Mission Safety International do an audit for Moody Aviation. I haven't been able to talk to him yet, but I can't imagine that it's anything but good to be back in the aviation world and seeing many friends there.

His trip started a little crazy with a cancelled flight, us getting stuck in the ditch on the way to get him, and another long delay the following day. However, he arrived in Spokane around midnight last night and texted that he was enjoying the seminar today.

Things for us are beginning to take some shape as time passes. Clarity still isn't ours, but we believe it will come in time. Meanwhile, we're enjoying the journey and the opportunities God is giving to be involved in people's lives and aviation in various ways.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Faith about the Future

Sometimes we walk on a well-lit path, a place we can see clearly what's ahead of us. We live in a sense of routine and normalcy that feels safe and known. We feel comfortable with our job and ourselves. We know what needs done, and we spend our days doing it.

Other times we walk in the dark, unsure of where our feet will land, unable to see past this moment. We wonder what will come next and if we'll have what it takes to do it. We aren's sure what God has in mind, and life simply doesn't fit into tidy boxes.

These days we are in the latter. We have seen God do amazing things, and we know He will continue to work. We know He chooses to allow us a part in HIS epic plan, and we trust Him to give us that place. Yet the tangible parts of that are very unclear. We have finished what we were doing, and we aren't yet sure what is next.

So we wait. Sometimes patiently, sometimes impatiently. Sometimes with faith and sometimes with doubt. And while we wait, we do what is closest to us. There is still a lot of clean-up going on after our trip to the Philippines. Tax time is before us, and we've enjoyed sending out calendars to many who have helped us in this journey. School. Kevin is visiting a friend in Lethbridge this week. Garry is planning a trip to Spokane to help with an audit of Moody Aviation.

Pray with us, for eyes of faith, clarity, and patience. Thanks for journeying with us.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kaleb's work

One of the things Kaleb did while we were in the Philippines was man the camera. He did a great job of capturing some of life and work there on the logistics end of the relief stuff. Here's what he put together.... click on the photo or the link to watch the short documentary he put together.

Click here to  see more about   Our time in the Philippines

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Home in Manitoba

We arrived home in the very early morning hours on Thursday. We got a few extra security checks, and extra flight, and a detour for our bags out of the weather issues in the US. Things didn't go exactly as we'd planned, but they went according to God's plan. So much of life is like that. Unexpected to us, planned by God. What a comfort when we face big decisions and challenges!

It's really cold in Manitoba. I'll leave it at that.

Kevin arrives home from nationals later today, and we are looking forward to all being home for a while. Some of our friends in the Philippines say the family is "complete"... that about explains it!

It really is good to be back at this home. I'm so looking forward to church this morning, to worshipping together and reconnecting. I've missed it. I've also missed having our own place... the Philippines has great guest homes, but it is nothing like a nice country home in Manitoba.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, rebuilding continues. This is home that people are trying to rebuild from available materials. Decent for a weekend of camping, maybe, but to live in, to raise your children in? I'm so thankful we can help people like these rebuild! Missionaries are also working at repairing or replacing fishing boats as needed. The job there remains unbelievably large, but what a privilege to invest in the ways we can!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Flying Home...

We are on our first of 4 flights, a trip of over 30 hours that will end at home in Manitoba! We've already been through 3 security checks and we'll do at least one more, plus customs and immigration before we get home. We've been gone exactly 60 days... we've stayed in 3 guest homes on 3 different islands, flown on 8 domestic flights (Garry enjoyed 10), seen many friends and made some new ones, and learned a lot we never even wondered about in regards to disaster relief. It's been an incredible journey, and it's not over yet! As I ponder some of what's happened I cannot help but be awed and humbled by all God has done and that He has allowed us a small part in it. Yes, God, You are incredible!

Yesterday I met a guy who is a photo journalist who came to do some work in Tacloban and other affected areas. He said that even in the hardest-hit areas people are well-supplied with food. However, rebuilding houses and businesses is barely beginning. Another organization told us they plan to be in the Tacloban area for about 3 more years, Lord willing, focusing on rebuilding schools and libraries so children can receive an education. 

This is very similaar to areas where we've been involved, and we are blessed to be in the rebuilding stage. God has provided amazingly, and projects are under way to help repair or rebuild houses as needed, boat repairs or purchase of new boats is beginning, and farmers are tending their seaweed, hoping for a harvest much, much sooner than they believed would ever be possible. 

At the same time, we've heard amazing stories of how investing in this relief work is changing those who give. It's challenging thinking, moving us out of our norms, and sharpening focus on what really matters. Only God could put things together so everyone involved is blessed, encouraged, and brought closer to Him. And that is exactly what we all need!

As people who have moved out of our norm to be part of relief efforts, we personally have enjoyed the journey. We have loved the opportunity to help those in need and to coordinate efforts of those who are willing to invest. We've been blessed by the incredible people we've worked with... and been sad to not meet others involved in the effort. Our family has grown and changed in ways that are still becoming clear and some values we've held have been reinforced while other have been challenged. 

Yes, God. Only God. At the close of one stage of a journey, it's an easy response to have, at any stage in the journey it's the best response!

Thursday, January 30, 2014


It’s strange really, this being back in the Philippines. A million memories and a thousand new experiences. I’ve been gone just long enough to see life here through more Canadian eyes, but not long enough for those eyes to be the only set I have.

The poverty. The dirt. The smell. The hordes of people. The friendliness. The rhythm of life. The community. The friendships. The traffic. The status-oriented culture. The utter impossibility of people dramatically improving their lives. The hope of the truth. The bondage of lies. The wealth. The potential.

It sinks in, and settles deep. These are familiar things, familiar places. These are people I love, and millions I’ll never know. Their pain is written on my heart in unfathomable ways. Their need is etched in my spirit. 

Their culture has deepened my perspective in unforeseen ways. Their community has impacted mine. They’ve changed me. 

I experience life as normal and sane and almost predictable. Buying apples for kids on the street on Christmas morning. Spending unforeseen hours figuring and re-figuring numbers.    Creating a menu from local foods and finding it normal. Missing rice when potatoes are served. An unexpected invitation for lunch on Christmas day. New Years with friends who provided an amazing spread. Airplanes and schedules and fuel burn feel like second nature, yet I realize I’ve been long outside of this. Guesthomes feel like homes and we move between them all too quickly. Buying load for the cell phones and finding a texting deal. Sitting calmly while the taxi driver navigates Manila traffic. Seeing a mouse in my room and simply pointing him out in the middle of a conversation. 

I hope I’ve also changed them. I pray the little things matter, because all I can offer is the little things. The problems are too big for me to fix:  many things don’t really need fixing. This is another place and it was never meant to be Canada. It is the Philippines.... and a part of my heart will always belong here, no matter where I wander.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Seaweed delivered and ER visited

I still haven't properly written up our visit to Mindanao, but life keeps happening, so I'm moving on. Last week we arrived back in Manila on Monday evening and Tuesday morning Garry and Dominic took off for Batangas. What's in Batangas? A seaweed farm! 

It was a beautiful trip and they had plenty of time to enjoy the scenery because their vehicle didn't go very fast. The A-Star arrived on Wednesday morning and the guys got right to work. The seaweed was delivered in rice sacks, which they loaded onto the heli. From there the seedlings were transported to Conception, and from there to farms on Conception and a couple of other nearby islands. A week later Philip reported, "The seaweeds are doing great. The people are so happy. They are all saying what good quality seaweed it is and how fast it is growing. This made a huge impact on the people and will no doubt be great for the furtherance of the gospel. The Lord is going to use this mightily to glorify His name and bring people to know Him. We  know it is still a long road ahead to recovery but nothing is to small for the Lord."

While waiting for the heli to deliver the seaweed Garry and Dom were treated to some great Filipino hospitality. They spent time with farmers and their families, went for a drive, and even got to tour a lighthouse that's over 100 years old!

The end of last week we spent on paperwork. This week was set aside for meeting with the aviation team in a number of various ways, and we've been enjoying that. God has given this team a lot of great gifts and we so enjoy spending time with them!

Tuesday evening Kaleb began complaining of a stomach ache, and by Wednesday noon he was in the operating room for an appendectomy! We are so thankful for good medical care here, and the experience has been as positive as surgery can be. Kaleb is recovering well and he should be able to go home tomorrow!

Monday, January 06, 2014