Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fellowship with friends

Buffalo, Montana, the home of the free and the brave... as well as some of my dear friends from Bible school. Ryan and Jessica and their five lovely children - Abe, Hannah, Joel, Faith, and Jared - allowed me to come visit for a few days. We had lots of fun playing together, talking, laughing, and fellowshipping. Jessica taught me about making meals in a pressure cooker, which is something I'll probably be doing in Vanuatu to save on meager (solar) electricity in the bush. She's also an amazing "from scratch" cook so she's been helpful with recipes, home remedies, and simple living tips. I've joked that God has a sense of humor in sending someone like me, who's never lived that way, to a remote area to minister rather than her. He uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise, that's for sure! And, I get to learn all kinds of new things from great resources and friends who do know about all these areas in which I soon need to soon be an expert.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Garage Sale

Ahh, the beauty of getting rid of our own junk... or my case, useful items that aren't so useful in another country. :) We had a garage sale the middle of June to once again weed out some items that we won't be taking to Vanuatu. I was able to unpack all my boxes I brought to Montana (when I moved here last June), go back through them and repack everything I'm keeping for sure in tupperware tubs. Everything I'll be bringing to Vanuatu long-term is being stored here in town for the next two years. Not using my stuff the last year gave me a bit more detachment so I was able to part with more, which was nice! Houghton and Gretchen used the opportunity to fully move out of the home they've rented in Miles City and sell almost everything in their backyard. They stayed a week or so at my parents' and now are staying with Houghton's parents in Terry, Montana until we leave for Vanuatu next month. We hope to use the sale money to buy tools for use in building our bush houses in Vanuatu several years from now.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vacation Bible School

Coalwood is a tiny country church about 60 miles from my hometown of Miles City, Montana. I've been privileged, along with my sister's family, to attend several of their evening services when I'm in town. Houghton preaches out there once a month, if we are in town. Every summer, they put on a week-long Vacation Bible School for kids in the surrounding area at a little country school. The women who put it on develop curriculum, songs, activities, and such. One of the areas of emphasis is missions so this year I got to go share with the kids. We talked about translating the Bible from an unwritten language and about learning language in general. I did a demonstration in Bislama, acting out parts of Genesis 3 for the kids to guess the content. I'm so blessed for the opportunity to encourage the next generation to be involved in God's work around the world.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Team time with the Kenner's

"Just passing through" seems to be our mantra and our teammates', the Kenner's, mantra this last year! The Kenner family (Jim, Tania, Grace and Josh) is from Forsyth, which is a little town about half an hour from my hometown of Miles City. Because of that, we've been able to see them a few times here and there when we are in Montana. However, several months ago they quit their jobs, sold their house and most of their stuff, and hit the road full-time for deputation. They spent a month or so out in Washington, then on their way out to Ohio, Texas, and Georgia, (those are all on the same way, right??) :) they stopped through Montana and we got to spend several hours catching up. We hung out and chatted and Houghton taught Josh a few stick-fighting moves in the yard while we got eaten by mosquitoes. Great times... hopefully a preview of the times we'll have together in a few short months in Vanuatu! The Kenner's and the Jones' (the family we visited in May in Michigan) hope to join us in Vanuatu the end of September, Lord-willing.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Finishing out May

Praise God, we made it back to Montana with no accidents and no drama. We did, however, have some fantastic opportunities to see friends and family along the drive. My friend Angie and her husband, John, drove 6 hours from Ohio to spend a day with me in Michigan before we took off. Thanks guys, what a sacrifice! We walked in the state park where I got all the pictures I posted last post. We saw a beaver and lots of poison ivy. It was a pretty walk. Angie and I were roommates at Grace College in Indiana where I attended from 98-00. We were the boring roommates who always studied for our Biology degrees. She and John took off back to Ohio the same day we left for Goshen, Indiana;where we stayed a night with Jodi and her kids Leah and Luke. We missed her husband, Duane as he was out of town. Jodi was one of my other roomates at Grace. I met Leah 3 years ago or so when I was in Indiana for another roommate, Amber's, wedding but hadn't met Luke yet (or seen Leah all grown up!) so it was fun to see them.

The next day we left for Iowa to my Uncle Dave and Aunt Kathy's house. I have 3 cousins from Iowa, 2 of which are married and live nearby. However, all 3 cousins were around because of Memorial Day weekend so I got to see all of them. Here's a pic of us: Gretchen, me, Heidi, Christy, and Dawn. I'm the oldest so I get to be tallest, isn't that how that works? :) Heidi and Christy are pregnant and due this summer/fall. Heidi is having baby #5 (Levi, Asher, Lilly, Violet, and baby) and Christy is having baby #2 (Ariel & baby).
Here's a pic of all the 2nd cousins. Ariel wasn't happy about being in a picture so Christy is helping out... Getting 8 kids ages 5 and under in a picture is quite an undertaking, hence the lack of kids looking and smiling at the camera. They're still cute though. This is: Ariel (Christy) and Lilly in the back.
Front is: Asher, Jesiah holding Adalaya, Gweny, and Levi holding Violet.
Here's Uncle Dave and Aunt Kathy on the left. After eating Aunt Kathy's amazing cinnamon rolls for breakfast, we headed on to Minneapolis to stay with my Uncle Fred and Aunt Betty again. They win for hosting us the most times over the last year - yeah! Your rewards are in heaven; I don't have anything fun to give you... :) We saw my grandma there again and also saw my Uncle Darrell and Aunt Jeannie. Here's all of them at Fred and Betty's and a pic too of my cousin Fred and his girlfriend, Barbara. He's impossible to photograph so I have to get candid shots to get anything. Finally, here's me with Fred and Betty. The next night we were scheduled to stay with friends Ralph and Shari in Bismark, North Dakota. However, as we got on the road, the kids and I were sick and Jesiah had a nasty fever. We stopped in and ate supper with Ralph and Shari so got to see them a short time. Then we then hit the road again and just drove the whole way back to Montana, getting back late that night. Sleeping in one's own bed after a month away is a great treat! Fortunately, we are all healed up again, feeling great so we are practicing getting our "land legs" back on again after a month on the road. It is nice to be back in Montana again for awhile, but I'm so thankful for all the great connections while on the road. Thanks to everyone who hosted us, fed us, and shared their time with us this trip!
So what's up for June? So far I've been spending my time catching up on paperwork from while I was away. Hopefully I'll be through all my old piles by the end of the week. Next on my to-do list is getting a study plan together for learning grammar and starting on Bislama (the trade language in Vanuatu). I also need to go back through all my boxes from moving here from Boise last year and get rid of more things I'm realizing I don't need. We are having a garage sale the end of the month so that will be a great time to trim down more. I also have lots of paperwork still to do for moving overseas - banking stuff, insurance stuff, social security stuff, Australia student visa, a will and burial info to Biblical Minstries Worldwide to name a few. I'm also catching up with friends and supporters here in Montana. The very end of the month, I am looking forward to a short family get-away my mom has planned to the Black Hills (South Dakota). Just 8 short weeks until I fly to California and then on to Vanuatu - wow, look at the time go! Thanks for your prayers for faithfulness, provision, and grace as the time draws near.