Thursday, July 30, 2009

Life in Idaho

So, we have been here in Idaho for over a month now. We have made some good friends so far! The only other couple with kids here has two boys, 5 and 6 years old. There names are Gabriel and Christopher. Their babysitter is the sister of our babysitter, so they often get together and play or watch movies. Since we had the security seminar this past week, there were several other families here in the apartments for that. Our new neighbors had two little girls, and one is three, just a few months older than Reece. Her name is Kaitlyn and she and Reece became buds right away (it helped that she had a set of "princess barbies" that Reece loved to play with.) This week, the kids have been roaming from apartment to apartment playing with all the different toys and making up games. Here they are in our apartment today while we were at class...




Christopher (I'm pretty sure they were taking pictures of each other!)


Kaitlyn



The gang




Kaitlyn and Christopher


The gang making silly faces



The Pout - It's hard to say no to those beautiful blue eyes! (I think she was pouting here because she wanted to put more of my lip gloss on, which you can see is already all over her face.)




Last weekend we all went to part of a lake called Lucky Peak. We went there last year
but it was fun to go back this year with all the new friends we have made. Our whole class, plus the short-term teacher Erica all came and spent the day there together. The water is ICE COLD and I was determined NOT to get my swim suit on because it did NOT want to be pressured into getting in. But, of course, in order to chase my two kids around, I ended up getting suited up. But, I only went in to my knees! :)


And here's our sweet boy yesterday on his 9 month birthday!! He is crawling, pulling up, making all kinds of new sounds, eating three meals of baby food a day, throwing small balls, kissing, and I've caught him clapping a few times, but he doesn't do it on command yet. I remember at this age with Reece, she was almost completely feeding herself bits of food for every meal. But, with Joe, he is still so gaggy. He can eat bits of Cheerios, bananas and other soft food, but he still gags a lot. So, he's really all on baby food, even though I'm ready to make the switch. I guess every baby really is different! :)
Here you can see Reece at 9 months old eating all kinds of food (avocado, cheese and so kind of orange fruit)

Reece's nine month picture for comparison.
The next two weeks were are focusing on learning how to build our ministry partnership team. Look for our very first official newsletter in the mail coming to you soon!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our Country Assignment is.....

INDONESIA!!!

We were kinda hoping for this assignment, but didn't really want to admit it so we wouldn't be disappointed or seem like we were unwilling to go someplace. So, we're very excited!! There are four MAF bases in the country of Indonesia and we won't know which one we will be going to for awhile since the needs change so frequently. We have MUCH to learn about this country and its people.


We have a three day weekend this weekend to rest up and soak in all the changes our family will be going through. Then next week is security training and then the next two weeks after that we learn how to raise support!
If you want to know a little bit more about MAF's work in Indonesia, keep reading:
The MAF bases in Indonesia:
1 & 2. Kalimantan
Indonesia's province of Kalimantan occupies the largest portion of the island of Borneo (there are two MAF bases on this island, which is the big on kind of in the middle) and shares its landmass with Malaysia. One of the world's most isolated and remote areas, it remains largely undeveloped. The geographical and logistical barriers are forbidding. Dense rain forests, impenetrable mountains, arduous terrain, and the absence of roads leave villages isolated, limiting access to the Gospel and life-sustaining services such as health clinics and education beyond elementary school.
THE SOLUTION
In 1969, MAF began to serve mission groups and the emerging indigenous churches of Kalimantan.

3. Papua
Note: Papua, Indonesia, should not be confused with Papua New Guinea (PNG), which covers the eastern half of the Island of New Guinea and surrounding islands. MAF-Australia operates in PNG.

In Papua, unreached people groups in the western half of the island live hidden away in rain forests, mountains, and swamps. From six bases of operations, MAF reaches deep into the interior, penetrating some of the world's most remote areas to bring the Gospel and improve the quality of life for isolated Papuans.
As recently as 1997, Stone Age tribes were being discovered in Papua, still untouched and unreached. Today, other primitive tribes still live in the hidden crevices of the island. Yet to hear of Jesus Christ, they are bound by spiritual darkness and live in fear of spirits and the outside world.
Basic services such as schools and health clinics are unavailable in remote areas. As a result, countless Papuans unsuccessfully battle chronic malaria, rampant skin fungi, malnutrition, and intestinal worms.
The need in Papua is so great that MAF pilots report being able to accommodate less than half of the flight requests they receive. Throughout Papua, there are few viable alternatives to Mission Aviation Fellowship air service in the regions served by its planes.

THE SOLUTION
Since 1952, MAF has brought hope and support to this rugged and forbidding place. Today, 38 MAF missionary families, two short-term staff, and more than 80 Indonesian staff members serve from six bases in Papua. Thirteen MAF aircraft, as well as three email hubs and communications networks, multiply the effectiveness of some 65 agencies and hundreds of churches ministering in Papua. MAF services impact more than 250 ethnic groups by maximizing and sustaining evangelism, Church nurture, medical assistance, community development, education, crisis relief, and the training and leadership development of Papuans.

4. Sumatra
Sumatra is the second-largest island in Indonesia, and home to approximately 45 million people. In ancient times Sumatra was known as the "Island of Gold." Despite its deposits of oil and natural gas, as well as other resources, some 27 percent of the people of northern Sumatra live in poverty, compared to 17 percent in Indonesia as a whole.
In December 2004, a 9.2 magnitude earthquake caused a devastating tsunami to crash across the Aceh area of northern Sumatra. More than 170,000 people were killed and 550,000 displaced. Geographical areas were disfigured, and the transportation infrastructure was destroyed.
Though MAF did not have a base in Sumatra at the time, the agency was one of the first to respond to the disaster, initially sending aircraft and personnel from the MAF program in Kalimantan. MAF also provided communications services to support the relief efforts.
Four years later, life is assuming a semblance of normalcy for many people in the tsunami-stricken area. Most of those who were displaced now have homes to live in, and the healthcare system is continually improving.
Many of the humanitarian agencies involved in the rebuilding efforts have departed. MAF is one of only a handful of Christian agencies remaining in the area, providing the predominantly Muslim population with a tangible expression of God’s love.

THE SOLUTION
Having served in Indonesia since 1954, the long-term commitment of MAF is recognized and deeply appreciated. Government officials have invited MAF to extend its ministry indefinitely in the province of Aceh. This opens a door of unequaled opportunity to demonstrate practical expressions of God’s love while establishing transformational relationships.

If you want to know even MORE about MAF, you can go to there website (where all of this was taken, but there is a lot more info there) at www.maf.org

If you want to know EVEN MORE about MAF (wow, you must REALLY want to know a lot about MAF!) you can watch this 3.5 minute video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgty36Zo3o8

Friday, July 17, 2009

More Apartment Pictures

By the way, I guess you could tell that I found my camera charger! I remembered in my sleep that it was in the back pack pouch that we put Joe in a the Grand Canyon which was still in the trailer. :)
This is the small playground next to our apartment. The kids love the airplane.
Reece sitting on the big turtle.


The park. They also have lots of outdoor toys for the kids to use. Reece likes to ride on the "razor" with Daddy and get pushed in the big car.

The apartments.



On the left is the apartments and on the right is the MAF headquarters where our classes our. So, it's literally only a few yards away, which is great.




Our apartment.





The back porch of our apartment. There are three building and each have one two bedroom, one one-bedroom, and one studio (only one room)






And a bonus pic of Joe in his dragon towel (or dinosaur or lizard...we aren't sure :)








Video Post!

I really wanted to get some good footage of Joe's new crawling skills, but he's kinda camera shy, it seems. He does crawl in this video, but not as fast as he usually does. I got to stay home with the kids today, and Joe just followed me all around the apartment. It was so cute!

Our class took a field trip to a mosque today, but Reece has had a stomach virus since yesterday, so I stayed home with the kids. She has bee really miserable, and I was sad to miss the field trip, but I was really glad to be able to spend some time with Joe and take care of Reece.

In this one, first Reece shows me how SHE can crawl, then it's Joe's turn. This poor boy cannot hide any of his emotions. His face is so expressive!

video

I think Daniel has really been enjoying his extra time with the kids!

video

Here's some footage of Reece getting some major tickles from Daddy. She says, "That's enough!"

video

And, finally, Reece's exercising session.

video

We are really enjoying out time here. Our classes have been really good and informative. We are bonding with the others in our class and the MAF staff, too. We had a meeting last Tuesday with the candidate committee, which is the team of people who decide where our family will be assigned. The meeting went really well. We were able to share some of our thoughts on what our preferences and concerns are. We'll have our "acceptance meeting" this coming Tuesday where we'll officially be accepted to MAF and we'll receive our country assignment. We are very excited, but I'm nervous, too! I think the main two options are Indonesia or Africa (possibly Lesotho or Democratic Republic of Congo). MAF also needs people in Eurasia, so that's a possibility, as well.

Please be praying for God's hand in our placement and wisdom for the MAF staff who are making this decision.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Joe Update and MAF Update

We had a great first two days of our candidacy this week. We learned about MAF Africa, Asia and Latin America. God is doing so many amazing things that I didn't even know about in these regions through MAF. I wish I could explain all of them to you. We are also doing a neat Bible study called "Unveiled" which teaches about God's purpose for all nations coming to know Him as a theme in the entire Bible.
We continue to pray that God would give us and the MAF staff direction on where He wants us to serve. There are so many exciting things happening!
Things with Julie are going well. Joe sleeps so much, and I come back to nurse him, so he has been pretty content. I think Julie and Reece may be getting a little bored just staying in the apartment all day. I'm trying to think of some more creative things for them to do, but I'm running out of things! Anyone have ideas for thing that a 19-yr old babysitter and a 2 year old can do together at home?
Our house is not "officially" rented out, but we have some renters who are days away from signing a lease!! We have been working out all the details with them and our Realtor, so we hope things will move along with them quickly. They just sold their house and are in the process of building, so they sound like they will be easy to work with and very dependable. Please pray that they would sign a lease quickly.
I forgot to post some really neat pictures of Bryce Canyon. We dove through the national park in Utah on the way to Salt Lake City. It was really amazing and so different from the Grand Canyon. They are not really comparable since they are so different. The GC is so huge and unbelievable, but Bryce Canyon is smaller but so interesting to look at all the details.
It was still chilly there. I think the elevation was about 8-9 thousand feet!

This is a picture of our kitchen in our apartment before my camera battery died!!


This is Joe at 8 1/2 months old. He has been working on crawling for the past week, but today he really started to take off! He also started giving the sweet, open-mouthed baby kisses the other day! I can only get him to do it once and awhile. I'll say, "Joe, give me a kiss!" and I'll pucker up my lips to him and most of the time he makes this squishy face like he's just tasted something yucky... what a stinker!! :)
Here's a short video of him crawling. He's even better at it now!
video


These are some pictures of Reece when she was 8 months old. She is so much smaller, but much better at moving around. I watched a video of her crawling, and she is so fast and better than Joe! I think it's because she had less weight to get off the ground (At least that's Daniel's theory!)



Oh, my sweet little baby girl. I miss her being that little, but she's so fun and loving now.







Wednesday, July 8, 2009

SORRY!

Sorry, I can't post any pics because my camera is dead and I can't find the charger anywhere!! Looks like I'll be shopping for a new one this weekend.

We start classes tomorrow. Please pray that it would go well in class and with Julie and the kids!!

Whew..!!

We finally made it to Nampa, Idaho on Monday evening. Our last day of driving was long and the kids were a little fussy, but they did SOOO well the entire week and I'm so thankful for that. We could handle a few hours of whining on the last day. We were busy reading the book Funding your Ministry the last few days of the trip. It's a really excellent book if anyone needs information on the subject.

Anyway, we arrived at our cozy apartment and are settling in well. I wanted to post pictures of it, but I'm looking around at all the exploding suitcases and full kitchen table, so I'm rethinking that and I'll try to pick up and take pictures after I post this :) Our apartment is RIGHT across from the MAF officesCheck Spelling. I mean, like, only a few yards away. The apt's are less than a year old and very nice. They are stocked with everything you could need (I ended up leaving a lot of the stuff I brought in the trailer) and lots of fun toys and extra things for the kids. Right down the sidewalk is a small playground with sand and a big airplane and turtle for the kids to play on (I'll take a pic of that, too) There are also lots of outdoor toys for the kids. The apt is only ONE bedroom with a sleeper sofa in the living room. We put Reece and Joe in the one bedroom together and Daniel and I are sleeping on the sleeper sofa at night. It really hasn't been as bad as I thought I would be. The only thing is it's been hard for us to get all unpacked since Joe is in the bedroom so much sleeping!! :) We are very comfortable here and thankful for the nice apartments from MAF. (They are FREE for us while we are here...YEA!!) I was grumpy about the fact that we only had one bedroom because I know that there are two apts with two bedrooms UNTIL I found out that there is a family here on furlough with SEVEN kids in one of the two bedrooms!!! YIKES!! (I'm still curious about who is in the other 2 bedroom :)

Reece still isn't sleeping well, but at least she's not waking up screaming for an hour like she was a few weeks ago. She still wakes up at least two times a night and we have to go lay with her. She also has a lot of trouble getting to sleep at night. I think it might be because it's so bright out until at least 10pm. Last night we just let her lie in bed and we heard her talking to Joe and him laughing! (he was asleep when we put her in there, but I guess he woke up to her talking)

We are going to get our "notebooks" today, so I guess we'll find out more details about our time here. We are also going to talk to the girl who will be watching our kids while we are in class. Her name is Julie and she is the daughter of one of the staff at MAF who we know well, but we've never met her. Please pray for her: That she'll love our kids and be patient and kind with them. Also, that she'll do fun activities with them and that Reece will obey her and that Joe would not be fussy with her. As you can imagine, I'm not thrilled about leaving my kids all day, but I know God has the best plan for them and He is their protector. They are HIS, not mine!! :)

We are having a fun and relaxing time between our travels and before our classes start. Yesterday we hit up the shopping of Nampa (JC Penny's :) and went out to dinner. We have been over to the offices to say hi and Daniel is going out with a friend today. Reece loves the park and her "new" toys, and Joe is loving rolling around on the nice, clean carpet of our apt and working on his crawling skills!! He is SOOO cute. I'll have to include some pics of him, too, in my next picture post.

Since the kids are waking up SO early (5:45-6:00am) we decided to go on a morning jog together this morning. We hope to make it a habit considering that with the chaos of the past few weeks, we have not been exercising at all.

Please pray for our time here in MAF. These first two weeks are really important as we decide, along with MAF, what our country assignment will be. Please pray for wisdom and God's leading for us and for the staff at MAF. Also, we hope to bond with some of the other families in our candidacy class. We hear there is only one other family with children-two boys around 5 and 7 years old. But, we haven't met anyone yet.

Okay, I think that's all for now. Sorry, I'm trying to get better about posting shorter posts more frequently!! :)

Pictures to come later on today!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Road Trip Adventure Day 6

DISCLAIMER:
Becky has handed the blog over to me (Daniel) for this post. The views and opinions expressed in this posting do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the blog manager (Becky).

Random Stories From the Road
Since our last update we have spent two nights at the Grand Canyon (referred to from this point forward simply as the G.C.). So far all of our driving has gone pretty well and the kids have been cooperative. Becky is such a wonderful and patient mother and has worked so hard to keep the kids entertained and happy. She also has had some pretty awesome food on the menu (very important in the opinion of the Chauffeur). That's French for driver.

We made some friends with genuine modern day hippies at the G.C. They bought a trailer on craigslist and left Clearwater FL on June 1st with a final destination of California. We enjoyed our chats with Chip and Michael (there were three more but we didn't meet them) and were sad to see them go.

If we got a dollar for every 1-800-RV4Rent camper we saw we would have chartered Air Force One (complete with F-16 fighter jet escorts) to take us the rest of the way. In all seriousness those things are more abundant than rabbits during springtime. If you would like more information you can visit them online at www.CruiseAmerica.com.

My beautiful family. Reece wanted to sit on her "own rock." She also had to walk on the rocks that lined the trail. This made for some slow going but it made Reece so happy.


My beautiful little girl. She was more interested in climbing on the rocks, going up and down the stairs, and exploring the "jungles" (any tree or bush) than she was in the G.C.

The author and his Herculean son.


Reece running down the path to the G.C. on our first day there.



It was a long way down from where we were standing. We're not as close to the edge as we look. Would you like a fabulous family photo like this one? Follow these simple steps:
1. Find appropriate spot for photo.
2. Find appropriate rock to rest the camera on while taking photo.
4. Have your wife stand in the appropriate spot while you get the camera angled "just right."
5. Set the automatic timer on your camera and make a mad dash to get into place.
6. Wait 30-45 seconds for 10 second timer to go off.
7. Go back to the camera and repeat steps 4-6.
8. Say thank you to the kind stranger who offered to take the picture for you.





The whole family looking super fly.






Becky living life on the edge.







This was taken only moments after Reece's first glimpse of the G.C. (if you are not sure what the "G.C." is please see above and read a little more carefully. You miss priceless stories if you only look at the pictures). She was EXTREMELY disappointed when she found out we couldn't go to the bottom.

Well, that about sums up the last few days. We're spending tonight (Saturday) at the K.A.O .(Where Kamping is Kool) in Panguitch Utah and will be in Salt Lake City tomorrow night. We plan to arrive in Nampa on Monday. Thank you all for your prayers. We miss you guys!






Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Road Trip Adventure Day 3

It is starting to rain, so I have to make this quick. Today went so great with about 6 hours of driving and everyone was happy. Reece is loving the treats that some of our friends gave us for our road trip (The glitter pens and the little doggie were a big hit today). We are in Holsbrook (I think) AZ and tomorrow only have a 177 mile drive to the grand canyon (which Reece thinks is "a big hole")
Thanks for the prayers, setting up the camper/dinner time/bed time went much smoother tonight!)
Gotta go-computer getting wet!!










A Glimpse into the lives of a family on a journey to serve God through aviation in Indonesia!