All three girls will do their schoolwork at home this year! We are excited to be homeschooling again, though the girls have said that they’ll miss their friends and teachers!
Elisabeth is 14 and beginning high school this fall! She won the first place Sr Piano trophy at the Kiwanis Festival (for Elmira and area), and also did very well in her Grade 8 piano exam this past spring.
Her favourite things are:
playing piano (she’s currently on a Handel and Mozart kick)
swimming or playing in the bush (hurray for a healed foot and no more cast or crutches!)
Katharina will be 13 next month and is ready to begin Grade 8! She is one handy girl and was a great help as we built our Jungle Camp house!
Her favourite things are:
crocheting, knitting, embroidering, sewing, etc
designing and making clothes and costumes for dolls, sisters, and friends
Ionela is almost 8 and is chomping at the bit to begin Grade 3! She is such a determined girl! This past year has been a very tough one for her (I will post an update about this soon), but she has worked so hard at her therapy (paediatric occupational therapy) and is doing VERY well!
Her favourite things are:
playing dolls or any imaginative family role-play
One of the beauties of every season excluding winter is that I actually enjoy being outdoors. I’ve picked up running, let me be honest, jogging. I’m destined to quit when snow falls, but in the meantime will enjoy the activity.
Living in the country means most of the entertainment on my “runs” comes from nature – watching a rabbit run with a group of deer, witnessing a fox attempt suicide on the road, listening to angry blackbirds who think I’m too near their fledglings, and so forth. One encounter was with a domestic animal that got me thinking.
I generally ignore people’s dogs, but if they come too close for my comfort I attempt to give them stern commands to “go home”. Surprisingly, it often works. During one of my runs a dog came darting off its porch loudly protesting my presence in front of its yard. I wasn’t disturbed by the dog but saw an oncoming car and thought it would be best if the dog backed off. I had no way of knowing if the dog was coming closer or would keep its distance. There have been plenty of dogs that actually followed me on the road and I certainly didn’t want to witness someone’s pet turning into a pancake. In an attempt to protect the dog from harm I told him to, “Go home!”
I suppose to his thinking he was in the edge of his yard – home. In response he actually came closer and bit my shorts. I refrained from kicking him and just shouted at him. The dog and I were both on the berm of the highway as the car zoomed past. I reached the corner of the yard and the dog stayed behind guarding his territory. Disgusted, I continued. Then I started thinking and became a bit perturbed by the similarity between the dog’s foolishness and myself.
The situation was so clear. I was no threat to the dog or its home which meant it was exerting itself for nothing. I could see the car coming and the potential danger to the dog’s very life. So I gave a simple, clear direction that was best for everyone. No pancake dog, no distraught owner, no guilty driver, no injury to myself… Of course the dog ignored me and did the exact opposite. He snapped at a harmless runner bringing himself closer to danger. Why? Probably because he thought it was the best way to protect his territory. The dog lacked the understanding and sense to make the best choices and he disobeyed the command meant to protect him. How often do I do that in my own life?
God gives us commands and directions from the depth of his infinite wisdom. He guides with his unsurpassed knowledge. And yet I balk, I question, I falter, and I disobey. Why? Pride, foolishness, selfishness… It takes only a moment’s consideration of God’s character for me to realize how foolish I am being, just like that self willed dog. One example of my hesitation is with the timing of my arrival in Paraguay. I wanted to be there last February. Now I’m hoping to be there this coming February. A whole year later than I wanted, and if I’m honest it hasn’t been an easy thing to accept. I know God is the one ultimately controlling the timing, and yet I balk, I bite, I respond from my own perspective which is finite, faulty, and inadequate. God is the one giving orders and directing paths. I’m so grateful for his wisdom and for his patience with me. By now I could be a pancake dog for all the times I’ve failed to follow and listen to him, but my Heavenly Father is patient and gracious to protect and preserve me! All praise to Him for His forgiveness and patience!
The teaching started today! We had quite the crowd and they were energetic and excited. A local guy was on my porch today at 6:15am saying “Chris, what are you going to teach us today? What are you going to tell us today?” (I made him wait.) We were ‘scheduled’ to start at 9:00 this morning but by 8:30 everyone was there sitting and ready to go, so we got started. I talked for about an hour and a half today and then when I said “that’s it for today,” they weren’t ready to be done. We hung out for a while fielding questions and talking with people before coming home for lunch. This is just the start of a long journey and we’d appreciate your prayers as God’s message is unfolded for the Pal people.
Here is another exiting update from the bush, telling about some great work being done and amazing new opportunities. You will find some links that introduce you to some of our friends, and also read about some changes in our team. Also read about how God uses a retired friend and his son to make a huge difference. Also check out how God is growing His Church into new areas. And lots more….
We’re pretty excited that Craig has an opportunity to go to a potential ministry site we are seriously praying about and considering for our family. He leaves tomorrow and will be gone about 11 days. Tim and Kathy Whatley (Executive Director of NTM Canada) and Larry Goring (New Tribes’ International Ministries Director) are also travelling there to learn more of what’s happening and to seek God for the future of this team.
Craig and a fellow student are joining them to learn and explore the possibility of serving there long-term. Craig will also participate in and help document the discussions, as well as capture photos and some video footage.
Two semesters done, one to go!!
A sampling of our studies from the last two semesters include: Bible, linguistics, animistic and folk religions, and church planting… On August 18th, we begin our most intense semester yet which includes Bible classes, a course in curriculum development (for teaching the Bible), and a language and culture learning practicum that is sure to challenge and inspire.
Lord willing, we will graduate in December, take a “new members” (or NTM) course in January/February (learning the ins and outs of NTM systems, a technology-on-the-field component, etc), and begin our support development! When we have the funding, we can head out onto the field!
Where, you ask? What field might this be?
As we entered training, we were considering serving in Papua New Guinea, but we were very open to God leading in a different direction. As we have learned about various ministry opportunities, we feel drawn to another location that Craig will be visiting soon, and we are trusting God to open and close doors. Would you pray with us that God would prepare us, direct us, and use us however and wherever He wants in His Kingdom.
Jungle Camp is a very unique and intense part of the missionary training program at New Tribes and it was an incredible learning and growth experience for us all. We knew we would be challenged and stretched, and we were (and not always in ways we had anticipated — eg. Elisabeth’s broken foot!). Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
It has been a while since our last update, so I thought it might be time to write a short update. It seems like not much has happened, but actually, we are a lot closer to leaving.
Our support is now at 97%. I don’t remember if we were at that percentage when I last wrote, but we are very grateful to God and the people He is using to support us. As far as paperwork and visas go, we are just waiting right now for our first stage of paperwork to be approved. We’ve been told not to expect that approval until mid-October.
So for now, we are doing some of those last things we want/need to do before we go… visiting friends and family, helping Alisha’s parents get wood for the winter, hunting. All the necessary things.
-that our paperwork is approved and can get our visas at the right time.
-finishing up a few things and enjoying our last couple months here
-the necessary support to head overseas
-friends and family
Thanks for your prayers!
Culture shock: the smell of rotting garbage in the streets, watching stray dogs roam aimlessly, the sounds of a different language, and the indescribable tastes of new foods. Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT in fact culture shock according to the experts who write all the books. Believe it or not, this is actually part of the “honey moon phase”. The assimilation of a person into a new and different context has often been described and charted with a sine wave. For the first several weeks and even months the individual is riding high with great spirits and everything is seen through rose-colored glasses. Life is full of new and fun adventures with a new experience waiting around every corner. (This is largely why short-term mission trips are so much fun!) True culture shock only starts to kick in a few months down the road as the novelties wear thin and a person is left with the realization that they do not understand and much less fit into this new atmosphere. Deep loneliness sets in as a person longs to understand and be understood; neither of which is to happen any time soon. An intense longing for the familiarity of “the old life” drives one to judge his surrounding culture as inferior. Cultural differences become annoyances, then, deep frustrations. Next thing he is calling the travel agent to book a flight home.
If a person does in fact make it through this dark valley without pushing the eject button, life begins to take a turn for the better as a sense of belonging and a new identity is formed. The joys of life return (just in a different form) and many live happily ever after…
All that to say, right now we are living high on the top of the first wave, taking full advantage of “the honeymoon phase”. We are living in a small city/town for the next year or so, as we engage in the study of the national culture and language. Life here is fantastic! We have a small rented house in a great little neighborhood. We have two bakeries within a 3-minute walk. The local barber/hangout spot is just around the corner, and our neighbors are friendly. There is very much of a small town feel. The nights are quiet from 10pm-4 am (when people are done talking in the streets to the time the roosters begin calling for morning). Most people get around the town by foot or bicycle but cars and motorcycles are also common, with an occasional horse and rider or mule-drawn cart. We have several grocery stores close by, ALL of which will deliver your groceries (via motorcycle-cart) to your front door! The last delivery boy came to our house shortly after dark with groceries Danielle had bought. For some unknown reason our power was off and I had already checked both breakers in our house, to no avail. After unloading our groceries the delivery boy figured out our electrical problem within 30 seconds! Dinner AND electricity! Unbeatable customer service! We’ve also been pleasantly surprised to find that mosquitoes and other biting insects are at a minimum, the climate is mild, and our tiny yard is home to a variety of interesting little birds (including some beautiful parrots that like to fly by now and then!).
When we are not standing in lines for more documents and paper work, Danielle spends most of her day studying or engaging people in Portuguese conversation. I spend my days watching Tulia and making cheap plywood furniture for our unfurnished house. Tulia spends her days eating fruit, being a stinker, and charming the locals.
Life is good. We praise God for his provision for us. This roller coaster will turn down at some point, but for now we have our hands up.
Our men are taking their first survey trip. The tribe we are praying about allocating is smack dab in the middle of 3 other tribes who all have a church and portions of the Bible! So why isn’t this tribe reached? Well, the languages are so different and there are huge mountains that separate them.
So our guys BJ, Jeremy, Jack (in spirit), and Bill (on leadership) are heading out to one of the surrounding tribes that has the Gospel. They will be getting a feel for the area, talking to believers about their involvement, and talking with the missionary there. We are so excited to be stepping out in faith and begging God for direction!
Please pray with us for safety, good health (as they will be eating LOTS of kau kau and greens!), and direction!!
Thank you so much for all of your involvement! For all of you prayer partners, we NEED your prayers. And for all of you financial supporters, we wouldn’t be able to fly out to this tribe without you! We couldn’t do this without any of you! XOXO