Friday, August 8, 2014

Goschenhoppen Folk festival

Today I won't post about visiting a church, about Belize, training, or Oasis.

We spent some time today at the Goschehoppin Folk Festival.  A and S were a little reluctant to go, especially because for me this is counting as a school day.  In the end I believe they had a lot of fun.

We learned a lot about what life would have been like 100 and even 200 years ago.  

It was interesting to think about how much was required of children, mostly due to needing help to survive

Our kids got to try their hand at washing, shelling peas, explored a garden, spoke with shoemakers, tanners, wheel-builders, gunsmiths,farmers, and play games.
I am hoping they learned that kids were much more easily entertained years ago

One thing I didn't think about was catching up with old friends. We saw a few old friends.  Here is Nathanel talking with my former teacher: Harry Ansalmo, who retired this year after 27 years of teaching.  Nathanael remided me today that I'm a part of his legacy.  What an honorable position to hold!  He believed in and encouraged me.  It was very good to see him again.  

As a fun closing picture.. all of the kids loved rubbing their hands on the lemon balm in the garden.  Abigail and Selah decided they should put their whole head in to get the smell on them ;)  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

a swimming hole

Some of the "latin America" families went swimming in the free time during Oasis.  Here are some of those pictures:

This is Ted Smoker, Nathanel, Galen and some of the 13 children that were with us

It was a good time of getting know each other on a fun level

Monday, August 4, 2014

Training and Retreat

Just a few pictures from training and Oasis (retreat)

Training was actually very small.  There were 6 adults the first week, and 11 the second week.  In the second week the children outnumbered the adults (12 children 11 adults)  

Having an intimate group, especially that first week was awesome.  It felt like I really connected with people more because there were so few of us.  

At Oasis, the numbers were much greater (pretty much all of the missionaries on furlough were there) and there were some people I didn't get to meet due to circumstances.  Oasis was really nice we got to connect with others and my kids really enjoyed meeting other missionary kids.  For them I think it was helpful to not feel so alone.  

We also got the chance to meet Galen and Phyllis Groff, the couple that will be our regional representatives in Belize.  It was nice to connect with them in person instead of skype.  It was also so cool to see their heart for us and for our children.  I think we are off to a good start :)  

A great surprise to me  is we were "adopted" by members of local congregations for Oasis.  Each of us got a "care" bag, with fun things in them.  Mine had chocolate and books.. won me over right away! 

These were just a small  smattering of pictures and happenings.  Don't let them mislead you though, we actually spent most of our training inside in a classroom setting (but who wants pictures of that!) 
Some of the awesome people who took care of our kids while we were in class (and Troy photobombing!) 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Global Fair

About a year ago as we were in the appointment process, we attended Global Fair for the first time.  It was so neat to talk to other missionaries  and connect with their visions.

This year we got our own table :)  It was a bit intimidating.  I wasn't sure what to use to explain our mission.  What we did was "simulate" deafness by putting ear plugs in and using ear muffs. While we really can't get close to explaining the deaf experience, I think it opened people's awareness. 

We were able to talk about what communication with deaf looks like(even if you don't know ASL).  We also were able to highlight that deaf people are one of the most unreached people groups.  Finally I printed out the British Sign Alphabet and the American Sign Alphabet, having them side by side.  I used this to explain that sign language is NOT universal.  Even though the British speak English like us, their signs are significantly different. 

We really had fun connecting with others and sharing our vision.  We look forward to continuing to do that through different venues as we finish raising our support. 

as a side note:  THANK YOU  I feel that we don't "say" that enough.  As we are starting in missions we realize that we "stand on the backs" of so many: helpers, prayer warriors
, supporters.  These people help us carry the vision God has given us. I am working on thank you notes, but for now I just wanted to make it clear how thankful and indebted to you we are. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

34% and Update

Wow! We just came off of sharing our vision at about 18 different places.  It was a great time of growth, but tiring.  The best thing though was being able to connect with people from so many different places.  We have a few more opportunities lined up and hope to set up new opportunities for the coming weeks.

God has blessed us by providing 34% of the needed funds to go to Belize.  Our goal is to go in August in order to make it in time for me (Nathanael) to work in the school interpreting for the Deaf.  This is extremely important, because there is no one else at present to fill this roll.  If there is no one to fill this roll then the Deaf I am to interpret for receive no education.

At the same time we really want to seek what God's will is for us as a family.

I will leave you with the video from the girl's day camp this week. It challenged me to "go vertical".  For me that means praying "God sized" prayers (ones that only God can answer)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

People Raising is essential.

This has been a busy week for our family.  We had 4 different speaking engagements, one of them being our support dinner.  It is humbling and honoring to speak with people who are interested in sharing our vision.

As I have alluded to before, the "fundraising" aspect isn't my favorite part of this journey.

I have however come to terms with the fact that it's an important part.  Some may laugh.  Obviously we can't go with out having the finances for our trip.  Honestly this has never been the point.

These past few months have been stretching for me as an individual as well as us as a family.  We have been challenged to go beyond our comfort zone, beyond our natural abilities and even beyond our energy levels.  I have had opportunities to speak with countless people from the pulpit as well as one on one.  

I have come to believe that God meant for us to be on this part of the journey.  My faith has been challenged.  I have been asked to look at provision in an entirely different way.

As a nurse I have been blessed with a job that has always been needed.  I was able to work more for the times when Nathanael had less work. 

 This time, no one can work harder.  Nathanael and I are called to do our part.  It isn't even my job to convince people to support us.  We share our vision.  God does the convincing.  This is freeing.

At times I find myself thinking maybe we aren't trying enough, praying enough, trusting enough.  If we would just do this one thing.. we would be funded... but in the end I know that reliance on God and his plan is not just a good idea.  It is the best plan there ever was.  


Saturday, April 5, 2014

elation, excitement, overwhelmed

these are just a small summary of the emotions we as a family are going through.  I should be more specific.  These are some of the emotions that I go through sometimes on a daily basis.

Life is a journey, and in some ways, Belize is just a "step" in that journey.  Getting ready to go has also been a step.  Raising support is a step. Sharing our vision is a step.  Preparing my children is a step.  

I guess I imagined that all of my "goodbyes" would happen at the same time, as we boarded the plane.  Reality is that we have already started.  Some of our children's "lasts" have already happened.  

Two weeks ago Zion and Zephaniah had their last music class.  We have been attending music classes since Zephaniah was "womb bound".  He was born in between semesters, and has been sitting in them since infancy. Mrs Tuttle had everyone blow kisses as a good bye to him and tears welled up in my eyes.  

Although it was our "plan" to start to clean out our house, it hasn't happened.  I made a meager attempt by sorting through a lot of our books and trying to take them to the book consignment shop.  She took about 7 of them and I ended up with store credit.. (my fault really everything in the shop was so appealing).  Now a tub of books sits in the back of the car.  I don't look at them for fear of wanting them back in the house..

When you pray for us you can think about some of those emotions we are having! I try not to get overwhelmed by it all. 

We speak at Finland Mennonite church (the church I attended with my family)  this week and were at Grace Mennonite last week.  Here is a picture from 2 years ago that we took at Grace Mennonite's Fall Festival. 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I am getting OFF this roller coaster

This journey into missions has been a challenging one for me.  Before it started a friend and I had a conversation about seeing God do miracles.  We both realized that if we are trying to solve our own problems, control our own situations and cause outcomes, we aren't giving space for God.

The tasks between now and going to Belize sometimes seem overwhelming.  The amount of money we have to raise (in the time we have to raise it) is daunting.

There have been times when I'm so encouraged.  I am in charge of writing thank you notes.  When I got the list of people this month, I was floored and blessed!  It is so uplifting to have people come along with you and join in your vision.

At the same time my faith wanes in at the thoughts of the future.

Today I am choosing to Jump like Zephaniah did, into the arms of my father.  I am blessed really.  I didn't choose the timing of our mission, the budget, or the length.  I am excited to see, choose, and allow God to work!


PS in case anyone is a number's person(I am not!) we have about 15% of our goal raised so far!

Monday, February 24, 2014

"The Grass is Always Greener..."

Snow! Snow! Snow! and more Snow!  Now we have to much of that cold, fluffy white stuff, but soon enough we will be missing it as we take in the bright, humid, hot, perpetual summer of Orange Walk, Belize. 
With just a little over 4 months to go we have raised 12% of the needed funds for our adventure/mission.  Please continue to pray for us as God continues to provide.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I could actually write wow a number of times and probably still not be able to describe how impressed I am.

I fasted for a month for a team leader of our MST.  I had this ambiguous person in mind  with all of my perfect characteristics added in...And when someone answered the call I was a bit disappointed.  It was disappointment about me, and not about them, or God's call.

I had ideas about what I thought should happen, and what I wanted this person to be.

Last night though I was blown away.

Eric Hackman after much prayer, and talk with us agreed to be our team leader.

I have to say I am honestly embarrassed about my reluctance and judgment.  Everything about going to Belize has been a learning experience for me.

Eric was everything I prayed for and honestly went above and beyond.  I am so thankful for what God decided to do.

Please join us in praying:

for Eric and the rest of our hard working MST
for us in our journey at home preparing
and as we share our vision with others
for our children in this transition
for our finances