Thursday, November 29, 2012

Small Project, Big Impact

A few months ago, I got word that the kids at the church I grew up in, Trinity Alliance Church, in Cologne, New Jersey, had collected school supplies to send to a school in Haiti.  They contacted me asking if they could send them to me and if I would distribute them.  Today I got the opportunity to deliver this box of supplies to a local Christian school.

Rob and I have visited Miserne Baptist Church a few times over the last few years.  The people are always very friendly and welcoming.  When I asked RMI’s Haitian Administrator, Benjamin Altema,  who to give the box of supplies to, he suggested the school at this church.  They are not very far from where we live, but a little off the beaten path and rarely receive outside help.  I thought it was a great suggestion! 

Here are some photos of the Miserne Baptist School and the kids in their classrooms.  This small Christian school is preschool through sixth grade.  There are 3 large classrooms: one for 1st & 2nd grades, one for 3rd  & 4th grade and one for 5th & 6th grades.  There is also a small classroom for preschool (K3, K4 and Kindergarten).  

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Here I am with (left to right):  The 5th-6th grade teacher, me, Pastor Duvil Fleurvil and Director Nixon, the school director.

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The school as a whole was happy to receive crayons, glue, markers, scissors, pencil sharpeners and more to keep in their classrooms. Each child was thrilled to be able to take home something as well.  The younger kids IMG_0123each received a pencil and a marker, the older ones a pen and pencil. 

IMG_0135 There were enough notebooks for each 6th grader to receive their own notebook.  When we left, Perguens, the RMI employee who came with me, said to me that the supplies came at a really good time.  Perguens told me that the teacher shared with him that just yesterday, their teacher had told each student they needed to purchase a notebook for classwork.  Today, they each received that needed notebook.  How exciting for me to be a part of that!  The kids and teacher didn’t miss it—they recognized that God provided for their need in a very timely manner.

IMG_0133 Pencils, pens, markers and notebooks may seem like a small gift.  I’m thinking back to when I was a kid, if I got one pencil and one marker, I probably wouldn’t have been very appreciative.  But these kids really were!  In a place where many don’t know where their next meal is coming from and their parents have to to decide whether to pay for school or buy food, this is a HUGE gift!  I’m sure many of those 6th graders had no idea where they were going to get the money for a notebook. 

Trinity Alliance Church, thanks for your donation and thoughtfulness.  God used you in a very tangible way to show these kids how much He loves them and how He provides them with even their smallest needs.  When you sent this box down, I didn’t know what school would benefit from your generosity.  But God did!

~Becky

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving for 120!

What do you do when you live in another country and important US holidays come around?  I, for one,  am not going to sit around and mope for what I might be missing!  You make your own traditions and celebrate with the family you have close to you—and you learn that family is not limited to those related by blood.  We are incredibly blessed to have a community of missionaries from different organizations and countries to “do life” with!  They truly are a second family.  There are also many other ex-pats in southern Haiti, many who I don’t know well, who are also missing their families and friends. 

Our community here in Les Cayes, Haiti has been celebrating American Thanksgiving together for over 20 years.  Most years, this gathering has happened at what is now our home.  I have been thrilled to carry on that tradition!    I think we set a record this year—120 people came to our gathering!  Countries represented included the US, Germany, Canada, Haiti, South Africa, Nicaragua, and Uruguay. I think one of the best things about Thanksgiving, is that it is a holiday that transcends nationality. We can add our American traditions to it, but all of us in this missionary community enjoy setting a day aside to thank God for His blessings over the past year. 

All 120 of us!

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This was our third year here for Thanksgiving and my third year hosting.  I really enjoy organizing and hosting this event!  Some of you may think I am insane, but the truth is, now that I’ve done it a few times, this was the easiest year yet.  I’ve got a good sense on what amounts of food we need and the best way to set everything up in our yard.

So how did I do it?  What is needed to pull this off?  TEAMWORK!  I didn’t do it!  Everyone contributed.  A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I send out invitations and a sign-up list via email. I ask  Agape Flights to purchase the amount of large turkeys we need and they fly them in when they fly in the mail and packages. I purposely choose to sign up to bring dessert, so that the only cooking I have to do is baking the day before.  The sign-up list includes tables and chairs available.  The day before, some missionaries brought down their tables and chairs and Rob and Gary drove around picking up the rest.  The day of Thanksgiving, while everyone else is making the dish(es) they signed up to bring, Rob and I are setting up tables and chairs and working out last minute details.  I invited anyone who wanted to come and decorate the tables to come at 11 am.  All the tables were beautifully decorated by 11:30.  I always set up an activity table for the kids with lots of crayons, Thanksgiving coloring sheets, mazes and word searches.  Drew’s teacher, Ms. Karen and the teacher’s aid at the school, Sarah, came up with a craft as well.

Someone made a comment on Facebook that I must have a very large house to do this. Hahahaha!  We could never fit a quarter of the people in my house.  What we do have, is enough space in the yard and driveway to pull this off outside.  Imagine our panic, when at 12:30, an hour before everyone was to start arriving and all the tables, tablecloths and decorations were set up, it STARTED RAINING!  When we realized it was not a quick shower, we grabbed all the tarps we could find and covered the tables.  I never prayed so hard for rain to stop! It stopped raining right as people started to arrive at 1:30 and the rain held off the rest of the day.  Praise the Lord!

All the tables set up in the driveway before the rain started:

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Wondering what we had at our meal? Here is the run down: 4  20-pound turkeys, 1 15-pound turkey, 5 trays of stuffing, 5 bowls of gravy, 4 trays of mashed potatoes, 3 trays of sweet potatoes, 16 cans of corn, 5 trays of “other vegetables”, 6 different salads, 3 baskets of bread (with butter), 3 bowls of cranberry sauce, 15 different desserts,  3 10-gallon thermos’s of juice, and large amounts of regular and decaf coffee.  We all ate very well!

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We try to stick to a loose program.  Eat dinner, then take a group photo, then get dessert.  While eating dessert, Rob shared a short devotional then opened up the mic to anyone who wanted to share what they were thankful for for the past year.  Tessa’s first grade class sang a song complete with sign language hand motions.  This time of reflection together is always very special.

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Braden was pretty tired from all the work and fell asleep at the table!

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What a great Thanksgiving with our ‘second family’!

~Becky

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Deep Partnership Before Deep Waters…

IMG_8734I had the privilege of joining up with NewChurch, from Georgetown, TX, on their recent visit with their brothers and sisters in Abricot, Haiti.  The team had a great mix of veteran visitors, as well as first timers.  God brought that exact team together for a purpose.

picturesThe US team was fun to watch.  Their authentic passion for people, their contagious joy in celebrating God, their constant want to go beyond the external, and their desire to be who God intends his 1 body to be was on display at all times.  It wasn’t about appearances.  It was so much more than doing.  It was being.  It was about being together, in love, honoring and lifting up one another and the Lord in the process.  Encouraging one another. Together, worshipping the same Lord.  There was something unique in their smiles as I watched Haitians and Americans spend time together.  Smiles.  Laughter.  Tears.  Jumping.  Listening.  Holding hands.  Songs.  Dancing.  Hugs.  Looks.  Squeals.  Genuine relationship building.  Real care.  True partnership.

IMG_8616As I shared in conversations and I listened to both sides, it’s obvious that this partnership is about collaboration.  It’s about sharing and seeking understanding.  It’s a process.  It isn’t about a US church acting prematurely without the presence of understanding.  It wasn’t about being Santa Claus.  It was about being Jesus.  It was about mutual edification and service to one another, and with one another to the community at large.

I believe God was pleased and lives in Abricot, and lives from Georgetown, will never be the same again.

Of course, the Abricot visit did get cut slightly short.  The typical 6ish hour trip back to Cayes turned into a protracted 93 hour expedition/journey/adventure…  Instead of leaving Abricot on Wednesday morning like normal, we “pulled an audible” and took off early on Tuesday afternoon. We knew with the impending Hurricane Sandy, that we had many potential obstacles on our way out.  We didn’t want to leave.  We had to. We made the right decision! 

iPhone-13At 3pm, we reluctantly pulled away from our family in Abricot, leaving behind our sleeping and eating quarters, that would later be flooded with 4’ of water, covering our beds where we slept, and the tables where we ate.  We made it up out of an already muddy Abricot, on the road perched along a narrow step/ridge nestled high above the ocean on a steep mountain side that later would wash away in the storm.  We made it across the Jeremie bridges, that are now closed due to damage (Note: they should be open soon, our next team goes through there Saturday!).  We made it to the Ice River in Duchity.  But, that is where we sat, and sat, and sat, and sat.  We arrived at the Ice River at about 7pm Tuesday night, and immediately knew we were stuck.  We “slept” there in the RMI trucks at the rivers edge, taking in all the sights, hoping the water would recede.  It was an interesting night to say the least.  I think we all knew it would not recede, but we had to watch/hope.  Instead, it kept rising.  For days the river ravaged that narrow gorge.  We returned back out of the gorge at 3:45am, resigned to the fact that we weren’t going anywhere.  Sitting there at rivers edge, with the other frustrated crowds, seemed unwise and unproductive.  We backtracked about 5 minutes to the closest MEBSH church, in Duchity.  We “slept” on church benches above wet floors below a very leaky tin roof.  Some even “slept” standing up!  At about 6am, the pastor, who lives across the street came over to see what was happening.  Pastor and his wife immediately took action.  There wasn’t a question.  We were fellow members of The family.  Our team of 10 took over their house.  I’m not kidding.  For the next 3.5 days, we took over.  We filled their house, and they served us all day long.  There were 2 beds that the 4 ladies shared.  There was a back room where most of the guys slept on the floor.  Some slept in cars.  It was wet.  It was cold.  The food was a little scarce.  But, the team did AWESOME.  We persevered as we heard of additional mudslides that made the roads in front and behind impassable.  RMI worked every angle.  My phone and internet was more active than ever.  We considered every option.  Yet, there was only one option.  Wait for the water to recede. We had a roof over our heads and we were with people who cared.  The following statement is threaded with irony, but the Pastor shared with us that he can’t complain about his life. He was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and personal contentment when he saw the testimony on display by the team’s spirit through their great attitudes, laughter, willing sacrifice, spirit driven perseverance, confidence, hope, etc.  The NewChurch family back home should be proud of their team.  As we might say in the US, they were troopers!

All are home now, but we will never be the same due to the deep impact of this partnership, and from one deep river.

Pictures are available here.

Rob

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rain, Rain and More Rain…

This past week we’ve had a team of 8 people from NewChurch Georgetown in Texas visiting their Sister Church in Abricot, which is the northwest end of the Southern peninsula.  Rob has the privilege of serving with this team this week. 

It started raining in Cayes where we live on Saturday and has been raining ever since.  Rob tells me that the rain didn’t start in Abricot until Tuesday around noon.  That was good news for the team!  They were able to accomplish most of what they set out to do on this trip.  Once we realized there was a big storm coming, RMI leadership quickly determined it was time to get out of Abricot.  The road into the town can quickly become impassable with a lot of rain and they didn’t want to be stranded there.  So they packed everything up Tuesday afternoon and left around 3 pm (instead of the planned Wednesday morning departure.)  Not only did they want to get out of Abricot, but they wanted to get to the Ice River to cross it before it swelled too much.  When they got there, the river was already impassable.

This is the video of the path to cross the river:

They tried to wait it out.  I think they slept in the trucks for a while and at some point turned around and went to the church in Duchity and slept in the church.  The pastor and his family there are taking great care of them.  So they’ve been in Duchity since Tuesday night.  Since then, there have been some mudslides on the road as well.

Pray for them and the team: for patience and wisdom as they wait out the storm.  I am amazed at how much rain we are getting from Hurricane Sandy, and according to the map, it looks like we are in for a dumping today as well.

Personally, our family is hanging in there.  With this amount of rain, the roof, which doesn’t usually leak, has started to leak in certain spots and water is seeping thru the concrete walls on the south side of our house.  We had quite a bit of wind yesterday, so there are a lot of leaves and large branches down all over.  School is cancelled today, so it looks like we will have another movie marathon day.  Pray for the kids and I—we are all getting restless.

Last, but nor least, please pray for the Haitian people.  I have a pretty dry house that sits up on a hill with no chance of flash flooding.  So many others are not so fortunate; many have very leaky roofs, and their homes sit in low lying areas.  There is much flooding all over the western peninsula.

~Becky

Thursday, October 4, 2012

With the application of faith, there is hope…

I think I need glasses. Are we biblically blind?

Constantly, I am confronted with people that are seemingly unlovable, undesirable, uneducated, unfit, unsaved, unable to dream, unemployed, forgotten, unable to access opportunity, lost.  They are stuck in an unimaginably complex cycle and prison. 

I must put on Christ, apply the good news of the Gospel, and see them for who God seems them.  Able to be loved, to be desired, to be educated, to be fit, to be saved, to dream, to be employed, to be remembered, to access opportunity, to be found, unchained and FREED!

This applies to both Haiti and America.

With the application of faith, there is hope for all mankind, even myself.

Give me Jesus lenses.  in fact, deeper yet, give me the eyes of Christ.

Rob

Braden’s First Day of Haitian School

Rob touched a little on Braden’s first day of school in the last blog post, but I wanted to do a post just about that!  Yes, our youngest, and last, child had his first day of school on Tuesday.  He is attending Kindergarten Lumiere, the same Haitian preschool/kindergarten that Drew and Tessa attended.  This is a MEBSH school (MEBSH is the church association we work with here in Haiti) that offers 3 “grades” equivalent to K-3, K-4 and Kindergarten in the US.  The plan is for Braden to do his K-4 and kindergarten years here, just like Tessa did.  He goes 8 am to noon Monday thru Friday.

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Life for Braden has been much different than for Drew or Tessa.  He’s 4 now, but he was 20 months old when we moved to Haiti, so Haiti is pretty much all he knows!  When he started talking, it was in both English and Creole.  He’s gone to Sunday school in the States for 3 months, but has never really been in any school of any kind outside the house.   Drew and Tessa attended preschool when we lived in the States, so they had some memories of what to expect at school.  Braden did not.  Braden has the  advantage of understanding and speaking Creole that Drew and Tessa did not have when they started.

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He was so excited getting ready for school in his uniform and new sneakers!  He was even excited riding to school and walking in the school yard with me.  School starts with an assembly every morning then the kids form a train and march to their class.  Braden was looking anxious during the assembly standing there with his classmates, but he broke down in tears when he had to make a train.  Anyone who knows the culture in Haiti, knows there is no such thing as personal space.  Braden was getting squashed in the line and started crying “the kids are squishin’ me!”  I got him out of the line and walked him to his class and sat outside his room (he couldn’t see me) for 30 minutes while he sobbed “I want Mommy!”  That was so hard!  I wanted to go rescue my baby!  But I remember Tessa crying the first week of school at 4 years old too, and wondering if we were making the right decision.  Heck, it’s hard enough dropping your crying kid off at school for the first time, but it’s even harder dropping off your kid at a school where he is the only one who’s primary language is not spoken there and is the only foreigner at the school!  I sat and prayed for him, his teachers and classmates for those 30 minutes.  I had to keep reminding Rob how much Tessa thrived there and assuring him Braden will do the same.  Rob already told you it killed him!

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Each day there is less crying.  In fact, he tells me he hasn’t cried in his class at all the last few days, just a little in the assembly time.  Yesterday he told me he made two boy friends and one girl friend!  And at lunch yesterday, he was speaking SO MUCH Creole, Rob and I were looking at each other amazed like  “Do you hear this?  Who is this kid!?”  He’s always understood everything said in Creole but didn’t speak it much.  What a difference 4 hours of school has made!

If you think about it, please pray for Braden as he adjusts to school, that he would have a great year!  Pray for his school Kindergarten Lumiere and his teachers Mme Wilnese and Mme Kittley.

~Becky

Oh, and I have to put together this picture of Drew and Tessa’s first day at the same school with one of Braden.  I can’t believe how much they’ve grown!  Tessa was the same age as Braden here!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Children, Living Between 2 Tensions…

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Oxymorons…  Constant Change, Day Dreams, Chili, Climb Down, Current History, Black Light, Boneless Ribs, ok, you get the point.  I am living an oxymoron, or at least I think that is what it is.  I am living between 2 equal and opposite tensions…

Every experienced parent I have ever met has told me, “before you know it, your kids will be grown up”.  To be honest, I want that quickly!  Parenting young kids is TOUGH work.  Sometimes, THEY DRIVE ME CRAZY! I want them to more quickly grow up into independent, responsible, God loving adults.  Enough of this childishness.  

But, I WANT THIS TRAIN TO SLOW DOWN!  Braden’s first day of school tore me up.  Truly, I haven’t been that burdened  for my children in a long time.  I honestly couldn’t see him cry.  I had to leave.  It was the last time we will send our children off to school for the very first time.  Wow, I love my kids and would do anything to dry their tears.

Somehow I don’t think I am unique. 

Rob

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Monday, October 1, 2012

I love the RMI Haitian Staff…

“Discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else.” Andy Stanley, Next Generation Leader

To be honest, the above is hard for me.  I like to be in control, and handing over responsibilities to others is uncomfortable.  I have long lived according to…  “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself”.  I have come to realize that for me, in my role, that attitude is a tool of Satan.  I am trying everyday to force myself to let go, and empower others to do what only they can do. It is self defeating for me to try and do everything.  I’ve tried.  It doesn’t work. I must focus on my zone, and let us others do everything else.  Together, we will accomplish abundantly more.

I love the RMI Haitian Staff.  I believe in them.  They are able to do immeasurably more.  The sad but common paternalistic Western mindset is that “we” are the experts, and the Haitians can support what “we” are doing.  We (RMI) are working hard to break that stereotype.  Change is difficult as it requires risks, it will undoubtedly generate some failures as we try new things, and it will likely produce temporary discomfort, but it is worth it.  I want to serve the Haitian people as they serve their own people.  Since RMI is at it’s core both American and Haitian, I believe we will forever need both Americans and Haitians working in tandem.  But, it is about “us” (American and Haitian), not “we” (American) and “them” (Haitian). I love that both more and more US Missionaries are coming on board, and more and more Haitian staff are coming on board to fulfill “our” calling together.

Will you pray for our Haitian staff as they are being empowered everyday to do more? As we missionaries are freed up through delegation, would you pray for us to discover our zone and stay there?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Few Videos…

The last 2 Sunday’s, we’ve visited two different churches that we haven’t been to before and had the opportunity to minister at both locations with a special song.  Rob took some short video on his phone each time, that I thought we should share with you! Some of you have seen these videos on Facebook, but I’m posting them here for those not on FB or those who might have missed seeing them. 

This past Sunday, we visited Marfond Baptist Church.  Some of you might remember Pastor Jean Chery who worked for RMI for many years.  He was installed as their pastor this past Sunday and we were invited to be a part of the service (more on that in another post.)  Drew decided he wanted to sing a song he knows well in Creole, “Our God is an Awesome God.”  He planned to sing it twice in Creole, but nerves got the best of him and he reverted to how he knows it best:  Creole version followed by the German version!  It encourages me to see his increased maturity (a year ago, he was too shy to greet the church with a ‘Bonjou’) and willingness to get up front and minister.  Here is the video of him singing:

Drew singing "Our God is an Awesome God"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two weeks ago, we visited a church plant in Laval.  This church doesn’t have a building yet, so they meet outside under tarps.  We were invited to come that Sunday by TiJean, one of our long time Haitian employees.  TiJean is one of the key people planting this church.  They were having a celebration Sunday with baptisms and 4 weddings.  I’ve learned “How Great Thou Art” in Creole pretty well and it’s become my ‘go to’ song anytime I’m asked to share a song in church.  I always have to be prepared with something;  often, I’m asked that morning and don’t have much time to prepare ahead of time.  Here is a short video of part of the song:

Hope you enjoy the videos!

~Becky

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Manifestations vs. Strikes

Manifestations are a way of life here in Haiti.  When the people aren’t happy, they protest, usually in the form of a manifestation.  It is a way to have their voice heard. They usually are violent or include some kind of property destruction:  road blocks, burning tires, people on the road not letting you pass.  Just last week, I learned of a pump at a gas station being set on fire by an angry group of protesters, allegedly because the owner was not selling gas to the public, only to specific people who would sell the gas at a hiked up price.  Often manifestations are political in nature.  We had a lot during election time over a year ago, but on the whole the number of manifestations is down. 

Today the city of Cayes is having a strike.  Strikes are usually a peaceful form of protest.  You usually hear about it in advance.  All the businesses are closed today in protest.  I’m told that at noon, everyone is going to bang pots and pans and that there will be a march in the city, with signs, etc., similar to what protesters do in the US.  Just like a manifestation, you don’t always know the reason for the strike.  I’ve heard different reasons for today’s strike:  protest the high cost of food and/or to protest that 2 of the top government security guys were transferred somewhere else.   I’m not sure the real reason.

As missionaries, we are instructed to hang low when these events are happening.  This is great advice!  We are not here to get involved in politics—we are here to advance the gospel of Christ!  It’s not too hard to avoid them.  We often hear of them on the radio or in advance, like we do when they strike. 

Today I won’t be heading into town.  What I will do is continue to pray that the government leaders will think of their people first, before they think of themselves.  Haiti has a long history of of government corruption and leaders who think only of themselves.  Would you pray with me?

~Becky

Home Assignment Report

We left Haiti on May 28th for our first Home Assignment and returned home to Haiti 12 weeks later.  Our goal was threefold:  to get some much needed rest and family time, to say thank you in person to as  many supporters as we could, and to raise the additional support we needed to return to the field.

To say our summer was packed with activity is an understatement!  I don’t even know where to start describing all that we did, all the people we saw, and all the places we travelled.  We put over 8,000 miles in the the vehicle we borrowed (thanks Greg and Star Harvie!), travelled to 19 states, slept in 22 different places, shared at 8 different churches and with over 14 different church groups.  If I’m counting correctly, Rob and I shared our hour long photo presentation 36 times!  We were able to visit with the majority of our support team.  If we missed you on our journey, either because we weren’t visiting your region or because we couldn’t make a meeting work while we were in your area, know we missed you and are very grateful for your support of our ministry!

We started out with 2 weeks in SW Florida, visiting with supporters, seeing doctor’s for annual check-ups, and working in RMI’s FL office.  A special shout-out to Eddie and Kelly Reynolds (and Kasey and Shane) for opening your home to us!  The kids really enjoyed their time there: especially the swimming pool and trampoline!  In 2 weeks time, Tessa went from a timid swimmer to a confident swimmer!  The kids were able to attend a week of VBS at our church in SWFL.

After that we took a week to travel north with overnight stops in GA, NC and MD.  We enjoyed catching up with friends, supporters and family!  We arrived in NJ on June 22nd and spent just short of 6 weeks there (2 weeks being vacation.)  We continued to meet with churches, supporters, potential supporters and see more doctors!  It was nice to stay with our parents and enjoy the time with family when we didn’t have other commitments.

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We were thrilled to take some vacation time as well:  both as a family unit and with our extended families.  We enjoyed 3 days on Sanibel Island in Florida in June, just the 5 of us!  We swam in the pool, had fun at the beach, played mini-golf and explored the nature preserve there. 

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In July, we spent one week of vacation with my side of the family and one with Rob’s side of the family.  I wouldn’t call those weeks relaxing!  The time we had with them was very full of activities—and just being together!  The kids really enjoyed the time with their grandparents and cousins and we were thrilled to see almost everyone (we missed seeing the Nebraska Thompsons.)  IMG_5453

 

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While we enjoyed that time with our family, many things happened outside of our control that made it disappointing for us and our extended families.  During the “Brower Week” a huge storm with 100+ MPH winds blew through one night, leaving us with no power for 5 days.  It took down over 20 trees on my Mom’s property including a 100 year old oak tree that landed on the house.  It took a huge crane and 6 hours of work to remove that one tree from the house.  My Mom is still working with the insurance company and hopes that repairs to the house can start in the next week or two.  Many of the kids cousins were sick with various illnesses over those two weeks.  So while we enjoyed the time spent with them, many different circumstances prevented us and our family from enjoying that time to the fullest. 

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Rob and I also enjoyed a one-night getaway to Lewes, DE to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary!  Thanks to our parents for taking good care of the kids!

From NJ, we travelled west to central IL, stopping one night in PA to visit friends.  We attended the wedding of Drew’s 1st grade teacher (who is Tessa’s teacher this year!).  Our final destination was the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago.  Thanks to Cal and RaeAnn Stuart for opening your home to us for 10 days!  Our time in Chicago was packed: every night and many days we had meetings with supporters.  And we sadly didn’t get to see everyone!  We also had a fun day taking the kids downtown on the subway and visiting the Shedd Aquarium.

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After we left Chicago, it was lots and lots more driving and many more visits with supporters.  We spent 2 nights in Tennessee, one night in Arkansas, a few nights in Louisiana,  one night in central FL, and then back to SWFL. Our 4 days there was busy as we used the time to finish shopping, work in the FL office, squeeze in 3 eye exams, and visit with more supporters. By the time we were done it all, we were SO READY to come home!  One thing I think we will do different next time is take a short vacation at the end—after all that travel and meetings, we really needed it!

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We had a really great summer:  we saw so many people, had some fun times, gave updates on our ministry and said thank you, and worked on raising new supporters.  At the end of it all, we accomplished most of our goals!  While we were able to raise a significant amount of support during our visit, we still find ourselves $381/per month short of our need.  We are praying God raises up those individuals or churches for us in the next few months.  Would you pray for us to meet this goal?  If you feel led to join our financial support team you can do so here.

We are so thankful for each and every one of you!  We couldn’t serve here with out your prayers and support!

~Becky