Friday, August 28, 2015

Family & Friends

 Family and friends are some of the greatest gifts given to us by God. We've thoroughly enjoyed visits from both this summer. People from Manitoba, Oklahoma, and Kansas have graced our home, and our lives are richer for it. We are so blessed by the people God has brought into our lives and the ways our stories have intersected.

We've found some new coffee shops and tried out new restaurants. We've gone to BBQs in the park and found new places to picnic. We've taken people to see Moody Aviation and what God is doing there. And in the process of welcoming people to our home and Spokane, we've found that this is, in fact, becoming more home to us.

 Kevin is in Spokane getting his green card right now, and it's been great to have him home. He's gotten involved in the badminton community and is making friends through that as well as a Bible study. He's also been helpful around the house, doing repairs and projects. He's found a few new places to work out. He plans to head back to Manitoba to train and work in just a few weeks, and we will miss him like crazy when he goes.

Kaleb is busy doing animation these days, working on a project for Malachi Man and also creating a short film for a contest. He's also enjoyed riding bikes and showing friends from Manitoba his life here. He's found he likes cold brew coffee and joined a youth group.

Garry just got back from a trip to Bolivia and plans to head to Denver in a couple of weeks. Work has been both busy and surprising as various projects have come together. He is enjoying his responsibilities that allow him to interact with people from many different mission aviation organizations.

I've enjoyed the more relaxed schedule of summer, sharing conversations with friends and organizing things at home a bit more. I've done some writing and soon hope to finish up school planning for the next year. It's been nice to take opportunities to meet other staff at Moody Aviation as well as interacting with students.

We are so thankful for the people God has allowed us to know and the family He has blessed us with!

New Students, New School Year

Beginning are really fun. Some are fun because they are our own beginnings, and some are fun because they remind us of ours. Usually, beginnings are filled with hope, a sense of wonder and a belief that this new journey will take us somewhere we really want to be. Not always, but usually. And I think the first weeks here at Moody Bible Institute, Spokane, are particularly full of expectation and hope.

Garry and I have enjoyed several of the events for new students and the opportunity to meet a few of them. It has been great to hear God stories of how they got here and where they dream of going. It is good to share our story and the faithfulness of God through the years. It is amazing to be a part of the journey.

Besides events to welcome new students, this week Moody Aviation has hosted various mission representatives, people who give of their time to come fly with students, share what's going on in their organization, and challenge students to keep on keeping on through the program. Chapels have been great this week as different reps have shared their stories and challenged students. Meals have been shared. I've had too much coffee. And through it is all the thread of God's faithfulness and the fact that He is worthy of all worship and praise.

We serve an amazing God, and these times of new beginning and repeated reflections are good for our souls. God instituted times like these for Israel, times of celebration and reflection and worship. And we do well to take these opportunities when they come to us. I hope you have a similar opportunity soon.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bolivia Update

Garry's been home almost a week now, and I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing about his time in Bolivia. I was a tad jealous when he sent the first photos back, just seeing how much like many of our homes Bolivia looked. Garry was at home there too, working in a flight program, interacting with some of the EMC missionaries, and speaking Spanish. It was a great reminder of how rich in experience our lives have been.

The focus of Garry's time was a flight and maintenance audit for South American Mission Air. They are facing a lot of challenges and changes these days, yet are passionate about what God has called them to do in Bolivia. They are meeting their challenges head on, focused on what God is doing. It was a blessing to spend time with them and a great time to offer encouragement and pray together.

While there Garry was also able to visit one of EMC's works among the old colony Mennonites. Some friends of ours are serving there, and it was good to connect with them and hear some of the challenges and blessings in their ministry. Garry was very encouraged by what is going on there, and it was a cool thing to be the one in a more support role of having prayed for the ministry and now seeing it!

On the way home Garry unexpectedly ran into some good friends from our Panama days and enjoyed catching up in the airport. It never ceases to amaze me how often we run into people we know from times past and how good the fellowship is!

Garry arrived home Sunday at noon and got right back into life. Last week was new student orientation at Moody Bible Institute-Spokane. We enjoyed a BBQ in the park, chatting with several new students as well as friends who are on staff. The end of the week was a planning retreat to look at the next semester and upcoming challenges and opportunities.

We are excited about what will come next, though there are at least as many questions as there are answers. We do know that there are many opportunities to invest in what God is doing and the people around us, and these opportunities present themselves every day. We are so thankful to have this opportunity to pass on some of what God has taught us over our years of life overseas and in mission aviation!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Friends, old and new

There are a number of things that make for a full life, but one of the greatest among them must be friends. Friends we've known for a long time, and new friends. Friends who make us laugh and the ones with whom we cry. Friends who help us out in tough times. Friends who offer the gift of simply being there.
In this journey we call life, we have a million opportunities to make friends, and often we do. Sometimes we don't. It may or may not be my fault, and you can't make every person you meet a friend. Still, there is that something that happens between us as we walk life together, learning and growing.

This has been a week of meeting many people, and making new friends. Garry has been in Bolivia this week, interacting with the folks in the flight program there. I haven't had much chance to talk to him, but he has mentioned several times how much he enjoyed the people. We had new friends here to visit from Oklahoma. We enjoyed meeting new people at a badminton barbecue. 

We've also enjoyed the people we already know, people who came to the house for dinner. People who had us over for pizza. A friend who took me for coffee. 

As I look at a week, I often list the tasks that need to be done or the projects I've finished. This morning I choose to focus on the people who are part of that journey, the friends who brighten the path we walk, adding depth and companionship. 

Thanks for being one of those people!

Saturday, August 08, 2015


Garry's at 30,000 feet on his way to Bolivia. He got a free upgrade for his first leg of the journey, so I'm sure he is enjoying the extra space and food. He is very excited to be part of a flight program audit there, helping the pilots and mechanics be wise in the way they do the business of flying and maintaining airplanes as well as relate to one another as co-workers and friends.

His primary focus will be on flight aspects of the program as well as interviewing personnel. And audit can be a hugely helpful thing for a flight program, and we pray this audit will be one that is helpful and encouraging. We pray his time there is a  blessing to those he serves, shining a helpful light on their technical practices and lives.

The past week has had fun and hard moments... we enjoyed visits from several Canadian friends, catching up with their lives and God stories. While riding, Kaleb's bike frame snapped in two. We enjoyed meals with friends. Garry had some great conversations with various people in mission aviation. Kevin did landscaping for a friend. We met new friends. We found a great coffee shop in an orchard close to us.

And between the bigger moments, there was the everyday. The eating and sleeping and interacting and cleaning and paperwork. I think sometimes that the moments we remember from a week are often like decorative bricks in a wall, full of color but not the main structure. The structure is built of the small moments, the moments where we live our everyday lives. We learn and practice and grow in truth in the daily things of life, and we see these lessons in a new light in the bigger moments.