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 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 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.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Michigan Summers...

It has been 6 years since we've been in Michigan in the summer and we forgot how much we love it! We have been enjoying family, the beach, grilling, fireworks, late much fun. The kids are exhausted as for us in Mozambique 10pm is like midnight and the kids are usually in bed sleeping by 8pm. Here is doesn't get dark until 10pm. Jurnee just falls asleep the second she gets in the car and takes about 3 mini naps a day. Traeger turned 13 on July 9th and we officially have a teenager in the house! Here are a few pictures of our summer adventures with family...

 My brother has an incredible fireworks display for us all to enjoy on Traeger's 13th birthday. It was so much fun.

 Stephen and Traeger shooting off some fireworks.

Can't believe he is 13 now.

Loving watermelon and all the time with all their cousins...

And swimming...

Kallen and Brielle, best buddies.

 We also made a quick trip to sleeping bear. Tim and I haven't been there in years and this was the kids first time.

Traeger and Grant got to celebrate turning 13 together. They are only 3 days apart.

building sandcastles at lake Michigan.

And stick forts...

Eating smores for the first time that they can remember...

And water fighting for the boys...

Grant, Traeger, and Casey


Mini High family reunion...Nana and Papa with some of their great grandchildren...

Sleeping bear dunes...

Celebrating Grandma Fish's birthday.

This is where we are living these months back in the States...lots of space and quiet.

More cousin time...

Judah, Jurnee, and Michael

Lots of amazing sunsets...

Waterfalls in SC...

Geode hunting in Tennessee

These girls, my nieces, Megan and Leah, used to ride around on my back and I would spend hours playing house and letting them do my hair, now we've come full circle and my girls are riding on their backs and following them these girls and how they love my girls!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

There's No Place Like Home....

Where to begin...I have had a few people tell me that I need to make sure I update my blog, because people actually read it. I must say, I sometimes wonder if people really do read it and I am not the best writer and I unless I have something extremely interesting or exciting to write about I don't want to bore people...But I have been convinced that I really should do a better job at keeping this updated, so I will work on it. The past few months have been a whirlwind and I honestly haven't even had time to think about it. 

We left Mozambique the 30th of April after a busy couple of months of marriage seminars, a prayer conference, and Easter services. We felt like ministry was at an all time high for us, with so many opportunities and so much to do, but we also were so ready for a break. It has been a tough year for us between political unrest, friends moving away, frustrations with building the school, and added administration duties. We were ready to just get away for bit. On our way back to the States for home assignment, we stopped in Johannesburg South Africa for a week and we had numerous doctor's appointments and labs done. Then we headed to England for a couple of weeks to visit a friend and do some sight seeing before the craziness of being back in the States. We had such a great time. The kids and I have been studying British history the past year and it was so fun to see so much history in person. Traeger LOVES history and I think we climbed every tower in every castle we could possibly fit in, because he didn't want to miss anything! 

We arrived back in the States on the 23rd of May and we have already seen the dentist, Orthodontist, Ophthalmologist, and attended our niece and nephew's graduation, been to one open house, and 2 family events. We are loving being back and are looking forward to seeing everyone and sharing about the ministry in Mozambique. We have a few churches already scheduled to speak at and are waiting on dates for a few others. Here is our schedule so far: 

June 3-15--in Tennessee with family and debrief with SIM in North Carolina
June 19-21--Tim in Wheaton IL for a conference on honor/shame cultures
June 23-July 7--George family cottage
July 23-29--Tim and I are both ministering on the junior high bike trip at BHBC, Traeger will be attending. 
August 13--speaking at Faith Fellowship in Irons, MI
August 14-Sept 4--trip out west to visit supporters and our Mozambique colleague, Janice
October 13-15--speaking at the Chinese Bible Church in Detroit

Tim plans on doing quite a bit of fund raising for the school while we are home. We are still in need of $20,000 in order to open the school in June or July of 2018, which is our goal. We will be sending out a newsletter about ways to give if you are able to and want to partner with us in opening the first Bible School in this part of Mozambique. We are staying out in Sand Lake and I will continue to home school the kids while we are in the States because of our short time here. We plan to be here for about 6 months and will be heading back to Mozambique in early December. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible. Please contact us on email or fb to put some dates on the calendar.

Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy of our last days in Moz and our trip to England.

 Saying goodbye to our good friends, Emicio and Esmerelda and my name sake, Chele. They named their baby girl(born in January) after me, which is one of the biggest honors they can bestow on a person in their culture..very humbling...Tim and everyone in Mozambique calls me Chele, so they didn't want to name her Michele, because people might not know it was me, she was named after, but everyone will recognize Chele. So now there is another Traeger and another Chele in Lichinga!

Our Easter service in Icuvi, shortly before we left.

 One of the marriage seminars we held in April in the new school building. We had 8 couples that chose to renew their marriage vows before God in the Church.
 A picture of us on top of Arthur's seat in Edinburgh Scotland.

On the Island of Anglesey in Northern Wales. 

On top of a tower in the Conwy castle. 

Walking the walls of the ancient city of Conwy... 

In Manchester with Margaret, our amazing host. We had such a great time with her and are so grateful for all her help and hospitality. She is part of Anchor Education, which runs our home school conferences every couple of years in Mozambique. Margaret has been a huge blessing in the area of home schooling for us missionaries in Mozambique as well as a great friend to our family.  

At Bamburg Castle on the Eastern coast of England

 At London Tower in London England.

At Trafalgar Square in London. 

Feeding the giraffes in Johannesburg with Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

The girls highlight of the whole trip...petting baby lions! After our week of doctors appointments and blood draws and meds, we surprised them with a trip to the lion safari park and we got an added bonus of running into Arnold while there for mom and dad, since the kids were completely clueless as to who he was.