Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Family Update...4 months and counting...

This has been some of the busiest months ever...it is hard to believe we have been back 4 months already. In some ways it feels like we've been here forever and in others time has flown. We have done so much in the past couple of months. We left the end of February for our monthly orthodontist appointment for Traeger in Malawi. It went really well and his teeth are moving quite quickly. We also were able to visit with a Pastor from one of our supporting churches in Grand Rapids, who happened to be teaching at Bible school in Lilongwe. We then flew to South Africa to attend a SIM conference in Pretoria. It was an extremely busy week, as we were busy from 7:30am to 9:30pm, but also very rewarding. We were able to meet so many new people and were able to do a lot of networking for the Bible school. The kids were also involved in a program and all made new friends. They loved the week there although I think they were exhausted as well. After the conference, we flew to George and visited some good friends and also drove a little of the garden route to go visit our previous director and his family, who was diagnosed with ALS and had to move back to South Africa. We had great visits with them. The kids also enjoyed reconnecting with old friends they hadn't seen in over a year. We flew back to Malawi and had another orthodontist appointment and then drove back to Lichinga, through some of the worst roads we've ever seen. After being home one day, we welcomed our friends and colleagues for a two week visit. We also welcomed new missionaries from Malawi here to Lichinga. We have been getting them settled and orientated to their new life in Mozambique. It has been non stop action with 13 kids in our house for 8 days and 10 for another 6. Life is never dull! Here are some pictures of the past couple of months...

Arrival in Pretoria for the conference.

Kallen's new friend, Lily.

Jurnee, Kallen, Lily, and Desta 

Traeger and his new friend Jack.

Enjoying summer in South Africa.

Jurnee and Desta.

The girls loved being reunited with Zoe in George, SA. They had so much fun.

So good to be with our friends again. We have missed the Edens in Lichinga!

The beautiful coast of South Africa on the Garden Route.

Kallen found a friend.

Traeger also loved getting time with one of his best friends, Stefan, who he hadn't seen in over a year.

Cape St. Francis lighthouse

It was so good to be with our friends the Paetzolds again. We had such a nice visit with them. Please continue to pray for Alfred and his family as they daily deal with the difficulties of ALS. 

Welcome back to Mozambique...with some of the worst roads ever!

Here is just a small video clip of part of our trip back to Lichinga.

The Lichinga "youth group". Once a month all the missionary kids in the area get together for a youth night. The kids love it so much. There are some incredible leaders who make it all happen. 

Just some of the 13 kids we've had roaming about our place the past couple of weeks...

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A day in the life...

I thought I would give you all an example of a day in the life of us here in Mozambique. I think sometimes it is hard for those who have never been here to understand exactly what everyday life is like here in Mozambique. Things are just different and here is a synopsis of our day yesterday. It was a special day, Jurnee's 6th birthday. Birthday parties I know can be pretty big events in the States and a lot of work can go into them, but we are talking major events and lots of children. This is just a normal birthday at home for our family and a few friends living next door. I guess it started the day before yesterday, on Friday, the 1st of February...

First of all Jurnee requested fun fetti cake(? that kind of cake that has colored dots in it??? and only because we were just in the States a few months back and there was fun fetti cake there), and ice cream as well as cinnamon rolls for breakfast. She wanted hamburgers and french fries for dinner. Now this doesn't sound too complicated, but here in Mozambique...it is slightly complicated. So in preparation 2 days before we order hamburger buns, because you can only request a baker to make them for you here or make them yourself, not just buy them at a store. So Friday, I make a cake with blue food coloring (which actually turned out green because white cake looks more brown than white because of our unrefined sugar) because I have NO IDEA how to make a fun fetti cake and there is no such thing as a fun fetti cake anywhere in Mozambique. Then I also make frosting, the not too sweet kind, because that is what she likes, but it also takes a very long time to make. Then I start on the cinnamon rolls. While they are rising I wrap some presents that we have brought all the way from the US on our trip here, because there is nothing to buy around here for a birthday. The cinnamon rolls don't actually get done until 11:30pm. We are up at 6:00am for Tim to start making the ice cream, because also it is difficult to get around here. We had bought the cream last time we were in Malawi because once again, not something you can find in Lichinga. We eat our cinnamon rolls and continue to ice and salt and wait for the ice cream to be done. Meanwhile Jurnee says, "where is my party hat? Because birthdays are not any fun without party hats." Why couldn't she had told me that a few days ago, because party hats aren't something in the Lichinga market or shops either...So I go and make a party hat real quick because her birthday must be fun! 2pm we have ice cream ready and we have a small party with some colleagues who are living in the guesthouse on our property right now.  Oh and the party hat was only worn for about 5 minutes until it was just in the way and cast aside. Then we quickly move to get started on dinner preparations. We have to clean the potatoes and cut them. Prepare the meat and make it into patties. Go pick up our hamburger buns. We start the oil for the fries at 4:30 and dinner is ready at about 6:00. After dinner, we have movie night and the power goes out about 4 times, so that it takes about 3 hours to watch an 1.5 hour movie and Jurnee has already fallen asleep in the middle of it. Carry her off to bed and we crash exhausted from making cake and hamburgers and french fries...Ah birthdays are a lot less expensive here I must say, but a whole lot more work. And lucky us, 12 days from now it is Karis' birthday. At least she is a little less demanding at 11 turning 12 than Jurnee at 5 turning 6. I think she will survive without fun fetti cake and a party hat.

Here are some pictures of Jurnee's big day...

With the absolutely necessary party hat that was worn for 5 minutes.

Jurnee didn't want to hear us sing happy birthday to her because it was "embarrassing". 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The good and the bad....

Well we are officially back and settled (mostly). This is Africa. It is rainy season and beautiful. The weather is warm and mostly sunny. Friends. New kittens. Quiet evenings and simple food. Along with the good comes the bad though. Terrible roads, tummy bugs, power outages, broken pumps, and dust and dirt. We have been welcomed back with everyone of these good and bad things.

We are all truly glad to be back, but it doesn't come without its challenges. Many of you heard about our difficulties before we left and we just wanted to give everyone an update on that. We did end up leaving on December 7th, two days later than scheduled due to a cancelled flight. Last minute, the airline did cover all our extra baggage costs for our inconvenience, which was a huge answer to prayer. The flight went well overall, although Kallen ended up getting sick on the flight and throwing up several times. Thankfully she recovered quickly and was fine after we landed. We then went to the orthodontist for appointments for Kallen and Traeger. The Orthodontist needed some time to figure out a plan for Traeger and order a retainer for Kallen, so we had to make an appointment again for 10 days later. The trip between Lichinga and the Malawi border used to take us about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The roads are so bad right now it took us about 4 1/2 hours. That is 4 1/2 hours to go 150km or 90miles. We went to Lichinga and unpacked and got ourselves organized for 4 days and then we headed back to Massengulo, a village about 2 hours from here closer the Malawi border. We had a missionary prayer day for the Yawo people and also did some Christmas carols and worship to celebrate the birth of Christ. While we were there, a tornado came through. It was the worst storm we have ever seen in Mozambique. Although we were all fine, many of the local villagers houses were completely flattened or roofs blew off.  It took out a brand new school building as well. The next day several of us went around helping to cut up trees and clean up the mess. Then we went back to Malawi for Traeger to get his braces on and Kallen to get her retainer. While we were there I got really sick with a tummy bug. We still aren't sure exactly what it was. Then another 10 hours drive back to Lichinga again. We had fellow missionary friends from the bush come in and stay with us for a night and then we celebrated Christmas together as a family. For New Years, we spent a few days at the lake. It was a beautiful weekend and is one of my favorite parts about living here.

We have officially gotten back into school and we are making good progress on finishing up last school year. We hope to start our new year some time in February. We are also now working on getting things ready for the arrival of Verena to help with the Bible School and Tim has been continuing his discipleship and training with the local believers in Icuvi. The end of this month we will head back to Malawi once more for Traeger to get the bottom part of his braces.

Thank you for all your prayers and support over this transition time. Please continue to pray as we get back into all our normal routines and ministries. Please continue to pray for health and safe travel as the roads are terrible this time of year. Here are some pictures since we have arrived...

Lunch in Malawi at Hippo View on our way to Lichinga.
 So glad to spend New Years in this beautiful place, Meponda, Mozambique

A nice tarantula (Baboon Spider) we found down at the lake. 

 Rainy season...our garden loves the rain. 

Some of the devastation from the tornado in Massengulo. 

This is the roof of the new school which was completely destroyed. 

Christmas carols...and a prayer day for the Yao people. 

We set up our Christmas tree. 

Merry Christmas! 

Traeger sporting his new braces!

Monday, November 6, 2017

One more month...

Hard to believe we leave to go back to Mozambique in one month. We have visited the last of our churches and our calendar is bursting with holiday parties, an anniversary get away, last goodbye gatherings with friends and a few last minute doctor and dentist appointments. It is going to be a full and bittersweet month. Lots of fun and laughter I am sure, but also tears as we have to say goodbye for another couple of years. It gets harder as the kids get older and realize what they are missing when we go back. Time and change is more of a reality for them now than when they were younger.

We never look forward to the goodbyes, but at least there are hellos on the other end. We do look forward to settling back into life in Mozambique, seeing friends there again, our pets, and our house and yard, and especially back to warm weather and swimming!

I am feeling anxious about this next term. With so many changes coming up, in some ways, it feels like we are going for the first time. During these next couple of years, the school will open, changing how our family life looks with Tim teaching possibly many evenings every week. I will have to home school a high schooler as Traeger will enter 9th grade. We have lost a lot friends and support system around us. We have no director or leader for our team. Even though ministry wise we are so excited about what God is doing, it feels like personally there are so many unknowns...but we do know that there is nothing unknown to our God and we pray we can trust Him during this time of uncertainty for us. Thank you for your prayers, support, and love! We are so grateful.

Friday, September 22, 2017

LaLa Land...

Many times in my kids eyes America is a dreamy lala land...it is a land of new clothes, presents for every and any occasion, entertainment every where you look, a new breakfast cereal for every morning, road trips that don't rattle your teeth and drive thrus where they hand you food as fast as you can order it. What could be better than America? For Tim and I, although we also love such things as new clothes, nice roads and drive thrus, America is a crazy land! Crazy busy, crazy fast, crazy late nights, crazy amounts of choices. After being gone for almost 10 years...HOW DO YOU PEOPLE DO IT? We are exhausted. It never seems to slow down. I thought it was busy because it was summer, but when fall started surely it would slow down...WRONG! As soon as fall starts it gets busier, because you have youth group starting, small groups, trail life and heritage girls, and if you can fit it in...dance. And on top of that we are visiting all our supporting churches in the next month. CRAZY!

Well despite the craziness, we have been enjoying ourselves and checking some things off our to do list before we head back to Mozambique. We had an amazing time travelling out west to visit our colleague, Janice Peters, and her family. It was such a memorable trip and we saw so many incredible places and were able to visit with some supporters and people we haven't seen in a long time. Tim also had a very profitable time in Dallas TX, planning and organizing for the Bible School with our new partner, Verena, and a veteran Mozambican missionary. They were able to get a lot of the timeline planned for the opening of the school and set goals and tasks to be accomplished before the opening.

We now begin our time of visiting churches and we will be at a different church every Sunday for the next 6 weeks. Once again our updated schedule for speaking at churches is as follows:

September 24th--Calvary Church, Muskegon MI

October 1st--White Lake Baptist Church, Montague MI

October 8th, 11th--Rothbury Community Church, Rothbury MI

October 13-15--Chinese Bible Church, Detroit MI

October 22--Maranatha Bible Church, Comstock Park MI

October 29--Fruitland Baptist Church, Whitehall MI (Evening Service 6pm)

A few pictures from our trip out west...

It was so great to spend some time with Janice. She has been our family in Mozambique and we hadn't seen her in a year, so it was a blessing to spend time with her.

We were also able to spend quite a bit of time with Janice's, nephew and niece, Jeff and Alysun, while out in Oregon. We met them in Mozambique while they were visiting a few years back and we have stayed in touch. They are amazing people and have become like family to us as well. 

Colorado National Monument

We also stopped in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and saw my friend, who has been in my life longer than any other. Lesley and I have known each other since she was born (3 months after me) and have spent countless hours playing truth and dare, going to school, travelling, planning weddings, living and laughing together. I absolutely loved getting to spend some time with her and her family.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Update on our Schedule...

Well time continues to fly by. We enjoyed an amazing week with the junior highers from BHBC in the beautiful upper peninsula of Michigan. Tim and I along with my mom and dad cooked for a 150 people on the trip. The kids biked for 4 days, canoed 1 day, and hiked 1 day. It was such a great time of getting to know leaders and kids on the trip and so fun to work with my mom and dad. It was also exhausting, getting up about 5:15 every morning and not going to bed until about 11:00 every night. Traeger was on the trip and although he too was exhausted and was stretched in many ways physically and socially, he really enjoyed it overall. It helped that he had an amazing leader and co-leaders. There are a few pictures of our time on the trip.

We also spoke at our first church last Sunday at Fruitland Baptist Church. It was a great time of getting to know some really special people and being able to share what God is doing in Mozambique.

We also wanted to give an update on our schedule over the next 3 months, so you know where we will be and when, if you want to hear us present the ministry.

August 13--Faith Fellowship Church in Irons, MI.

August 13--Sept.4--we will be on trip out west to visit colleagues and supporters.

September 14-19--Tim will be in Dallas TX for a conference and meetings for the Bible School

September 24--Calvary Church of Muskegon, MI

October 8--Rothbury Community Church in Rothbury, MI

October 13-15--Chinese Bible Church in Detroit, MI

October 22--Maranatha Bible Church in Comstock Park, MI

The campers meeting on the beach. It was so great to watch my brother lead these junior highers. It was the first time I have been able to participate on a trip while he is leading. Loved seeing how God is using him. Makes me so proud of him

Traeger about to leave on one of his adventure trips. 

Here is where we spent most of our time prepping food and cooking on these big grills.

Our food trailer/kitchen

The big tent where the kids ate and had their meetings.