Friday, April 20, 2012

A Sticky Situation

Here are the pics I promised...a little late! Things have been busy around here.

These are pics from PYP, the Int'l Youth Group. The crate with the school items that were suppose to be Christmas gifts finally arrived so they became Easter gifts! The students put them together in bags and then played a fun game that could have come straight from Barry's playbook from our student m*nistry days! And if you were a part of that time in our lives, you know just what I was MESSY! Anyone remember playing "Meat Your Maker" games?  I still cannot believe that we played a game tossing raw chickens in that Oklahoma heat!!  LOL  Good times!  Here, they had the two oldest boys and the two oldest girls become human banana splits! They were in a race to see who could get everything to stick on their face the fastest by dropping it on them, for instance, the bananas had to be mashed so that they wouldn't roll off! LOL Enjoy the pics, Marshall had a blast!

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Board, Bored, and OJ

Okay. First things first, I am so sorry that I have seemingly abandoned the blog, I haven't. Sometimes to be quite honest I am either struggling with time to finish the post, struggling with what to say, or talking myself out of what I have to say since you all have a life and I never want to waste your time. I guess I think that sometimes it's best to say nothing to than to force it and just post drivel.

Speaking of drivel, the other night after I finished serving my chicken enchiladas, the whole dish burst to pieces on its own....craziness.  So far I have had this dish and two glass lids self combust. 

I am going to touch on several topics which I think you should know about:

1. Board or Bored? We are seriously in the throws of praying about Marshall going to boarding school. OK now, breathe out some of that air that you just sucked in...slowly exhale. Oh?  That wasn't you? Of course not, it was me making that gasping for air sound! Aaaaaack!! You should know something about me. Nearly 23 years ago I made my soon to be husband promise that, if we ever did what we are doing now, we would never send our children to boarding school. It was agreed upon. A done deal. That is until you live in an area where by the time we come back here next January 2013, all of Marshall's friends will have moved away. All of them. Put that scenario next to the one where we have sociable son who desires to play sports and there is not a ton of stuff to do here and well....there you have it, a couple of parents looking into a situation that they never wanted, but that actually might be the best thing for the child.

Trust me, you have not thought of an argument against this that we have not mulled over either out loud or privately in our thoughts and silent prayers. I do have to admit that after seeing it operate in person while we were in language school and seeing kids who not only survived it but thrived in it, we are more open to the idea. But it is painful nonetheless. Many factors to consider. Would you lift up this situation with us? You can see the school here There were representatives at our homeschool conference this year and we were very impressed with the school.   He is very excited about going and we have a ton of our families there so he will have lots of his friends attending also. 

2. Hudson got his cast off!! Yay!! His arm is great and we are so excited that he got excellent care and healed beautifully. Other then some minor stink issues toward the end, he said it wasn't so bad. :) It did take him a while to remember that he didn't have to hold his arm over his head when he showered! LOL

3. Would you lift up a man I'll call "OJ". He is our trash man...for now. Let me take you back a couple of years to when we first moved here. This little old man has thick curly hair that peaks out of a baseball cap that looks like it is as old as he is. I have never seen him without it. He has all of about 4 teeth in his head so I REALLY have a hard time understanding him. He always has a smile. Always. He faithfully brings his little run down motorcycle with a cart attached and picks up our trash, a couple of times a day. No we don't always have trash out, but he is there in case we do. One exceptionally hot day, he was at our house picking up the trash when he asked us something. Not understanding him at first, we asked him to repeat it and he motioned that he was thirsty and could he have a drink. Immediately we went and got a bottle of orange juice (hence the name) that we happened to have in the fridge and gave it to him. He gratefully took it, expressing his thanks and walked over behind a tree outside our gate and drank it. In secret. Ashamed. It was during R*madan. As a Musl*m you fast not only from food, but drink as well. I was so struck by this picture, it was almost like "the garden scene" all over again. For Adam and Eve, the CEO made an animal sacrifice to pay for the sin in which they felt they needed to hide. Here we are 2000 years after the ultimate sacrifice was made by The Son to pay for things we are ashamed of and that make us want to hide and yet....he doesn't know it. Hasn't accepted it. Believes that it either didn't happen or that it doesn't affect him. I find this to be so utterly sad.

Fast forward to a month ago. We heard that a house burned down in our neighborhood. It was his. He lost everything, that is, out of nothing, nothing was left. The neighborhood took up a collection to help him out, we gave.  Later, he came by looking for work around our house, at the time we had nothing to be done but told him we would give him the job if something came up. Two weeks later, he is looking for odd jobs again, seems like the neighborhood has decided to hire a company with a truck to pick up our trash, he will be out of a job.

Today I looked up from the school room desk and out the screened in window to see him searching for something in my yard. I address him, he sees me and grins from ear to ear, "Ada sapu? (Is there a broom?)" he says.  "Ada, sebentar, Pak (There is, just a moment, sir)." Our yard had just been mowed and he wanted to sweep our grass clippings. I got money out to give him when he was done along with some soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and other toiletries that we had left over from the youth group's Easter gift bags for the kids at the brick makers village.  He never came to our door for money. We really feel like he wanted to feel like he had earned the help we have already given him. How can you not help a guy like that? He is as dirt poor as anyone I have ever seen and yet he is doing his dead level best to earn or repay.....what was freely given....sounds familiar again doesn't it? So lift up "OJ" so that one day he can drink of Living Water that he may never thirst again!

4. There are roughly 72 days left until we come home! Eeeeeek!! I am SO excited! We are all SO excited. Pray that we finish well. Already there is major conflict with so much left here to do before we come home and the major pull of longing for the familiar and seeing family and friends again. It's very much like senior-itus. Who can focus at a time like that?! Yet we have significant trainings, seed sowing work, language studies, and homeschooling to finish up on top of flying to Malaysia to check out the boarding school and renew our visas ,there is a team retreat, we need to pack up the house, get ready to send the kids to camp, go to Bali for a meeting and go to Singapore for our physicals, then fly to the US!! Wow, made me tired just typing that!!  That is a lot to do in about 10 weeks time!

5. Our visas have issues. This is one of those things that happens over here. Visas are never entirely secure it seems, whether you are on a social visa, a religious visa or a community development visa. Things change. We are letting our go in May, which is why we have to leave the country and will fly to Malaysia, and coming back in on a tourist visa for the last two months of our stay this year. Where we need your help is in lifting up that this issue will be resolved before we head back next year, or that there will be another viable option for us to obtain a visa that will allow us to continue our work.

So there you have it folks.  A few bits and pieces of what is going on in our lives.  I trust you had a blessed Easter celebration.  May you take time to truly focus on the work of the cross, and what the blood that was spilt means to you.  Because of it, how should you live your life?  How will it affect how and where you spend you time, your money, your resources?  One thing we do over here after sharing a "sacrifice story" from the Manual is ask, "Who is someone you can share this story with?"  to get them to think about it and retell it and spread Truth to others. 

So today I ask you, regarding the sacrifice of The Son,
 "Who will you share it with?"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Treasure Island?

Celebrating Chinese New Year, the year of the dragon, at a mall in the capitol city

It was made out of fabric, so gorgeous in person, not sure the camera captured it as beautiful as it looked

Even in the midst of Hudson's accident, this past week was one of such fantastic fun and great fellowship. I love hanging with my other islander gals! Thankfully, the same volunteers from VA (same ch*rch, mostly same people) have been coming over here for at least three years now to host our homeschool conference. What a blessing that has been. Good for us to establish friendships with them and also so great for our kids to have some continuity in their lives which are so often filled with goodbyes and change. Yes, they spoil us with fun food (like velveeta and still my heart!), test our kids, grade those tests (Iowa Standardized Tests) so that we have the results before we leave, but they also remind us that the CEO is still at work in the hearts of men! You may think that odd to say but many of us live in tough areas where results are.. s l o w ...! There is just something awesome about knowing that these people gave up vacation time, missed family birthdays, and spent over a thousand of their hard earned money during a not-so-great economy to come m*inister to us!

Yikes..asjdhdjf ...sorry it's hard to see the keyboard through the tears! I am so! If that doesn't amaze and humble you then you need to go to a hospital and see if your heart is still beating! I am so grateful that our company recognizes the need for this in our lives and that there are people so willing to make sacrifices to make it happen! I have said it before, but I will say it again...thank you Swift Creek BC Volunteers and ch*rch body!!

The girls thought the cupcake was cute, I think my sweet girls take the cake! :)
Now with that being said...It's the final day, we have said goodbye to the volunteers, most of our friends have left to catch their flights back home and Barry and I are in the middle of a 3 hour car ride coming back from changing our return airline tickets and buying Barry one. It's about that time that he gets "that look". No! Not "THAT LOOK"! He gives me the look that says, "I need to tell you something that you are not going to want to hear", I know that look.

I am not a fan of that look, it usually means that something in my life is about to change and there is usually no going back. GULP!!

Then as if according to a script he says, "Can I tell you something?" I type this I just realized that the next time he says those words I am just going to say, "No, no you can't!" :)

Anyway, remember that I have had a particularly stressful week dealing with Hudson and receiving treatment for him in a national hospital all the while hearing awful stories of things that have gone wrong for other people's children, it was a bit overwhelming. So as Barry speaks, all kinds of things flash through my mind, someone died, Hudson's arm isn't really okay, the rat escaped the storage room and ate my couch, or maybe we have been randomly selected to not go stateside this year! I mean all kinds of crazy stuff passed through my gray matter in just seconds, but I was not prepared for what that news really was....we could lose our home.

That was unexpected.

He proceeds to tell me that within seconds of hanging up with me from when I called to tell him that Hudson had broken his arm, our landlord stopped by and said that when the lease is up in May (right before stateside) he does not want to renew. He has family moving back to town and he wants it for them. Our company has been renting that house for like 11 years, it really never occurred to us that this could happen.

OOF.....(while that is one of our company's many, many, acronyms, it is also the sound made when one is punched in the gut!)


As I type this it is almost laughable that I find myself in a predicament where I am clinging to a house that 10 years ago would have made me cry if I had to move into it! Funny how perspective changes things.

For someone who all her life has wanted her own home, and yet never has, this is one of those times that I hear The CEO saying, "Trust me." Yes, a few tears were shed, and we discussed what Barry had discussed with our supervisors and other company personnel that deal with these issues and I have a peace about the whole thing now...though, make no mistake, I still don't want to have to move...but I also realize that a) I may have no choice, and b) I may be passing up a great opportunity picked special for us by the CEO.


"Where your treasure is......"

In the Manual, Matt 6, the Son is speaking about earthly possessions. In verse 19 He says "Don't collect treasures on earth". In essence He is saying "hold on loosely to things in this world". When you begin to cling to your stuff, then you lose control and your stuff begins to control you. In verse 24 the Son said, "You can't serve two masters, you'll love one and hate the other". "You cannot be slaves of both The CEO and money."

How awful it would be to be over here and cling to what little I possess and miss out on what the CEO had planned for us. Eeeek! We all know that clinging to our stuff causes anxiety and worry, both of which are sin in our lives. It all goes hand in hand. Who by worrying can add one day to their life, or in my case, keep hold of a house? No one....including me.


It's not just an artistic term for me anymore.

Please join us in lifting up this issue to the CEO. Remember, your words spoken to the CEO our our behalf and on the behalf of those we work with and try to reach are crucial to what we do.

While the other kids looked around, Haddon stayed with us and she fell in love with these boats on the fourth floor!
She also wanted to go sit in the lighthouse  but there was a group already eating in there.  So cute!
Haddie and Daddy on the boat!

Hanging out at our friends house, good food and lots of fun and laughter!

Excuse me, I am going to go drink a Dr. Pepper and eat a few Cheese Nips before the children wake up....uh...I mean...ya' know, I don't want them clinging too much to the things of this world. It's for the children, really! :)

Tune in next week to hear me say, "Hey, who ate the last Twizzler?"