Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Houghton's solar training

Gretchen made this smilebox with pics from Houghton's time in Colorado in Sept (while she and I were in N Carolina learning terrifying medical skills).  This stuff is so useful for us for sustaining ourselves in the 'bush' in Vanuatu.  So go Houghton for learning all this!  :)  Here's their pics that I stole, I mean borrowed, off their blog...
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tiffani in DC

After hanging out with our friends in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, I took the bus to DC to stay a few days with my friend Tiffani. She's an awesome accountability partner and we were able to in person finish out a Bible study we've been doing over the phone all my furlough. I got to meet a lot of her friends from church, share about Vanuatu with her youth group, and attend a very edifying home group. It was a spiritually nourishing trip.
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Some of the pictures in the smilebox didn't show up well so I put them in the body of the e-mail here. Sorry so many are blurry!

Friday, November 4, 2011

East coast travel

We had the fantastic opportunity last weekend of seeing some friends who also have hearts for missions. Casey and Val (and Steve) hosted us in New Jersey and we also got to meet people at their church and some friends, Brad and Elly, who are missionaries in Africa also home on furlough.

I was also able to see my friend Carla, who attended linguistics school with me in Australia in 2010. I never would have dreamed we'd be able to see each other way over in Pennsylvania. What a blessing!

Team Vanuatu interview

The Pursuit in Boise is one of our awesome supporting churches.  They made this video for us this summer.

Houghton and Laura from The Pursuit on Vimeo.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I got my hair cut this weekend to donate to the American Cancer Society.  Unfortunately, my hair is so thin it'll be a very small donation, but it was fun to do and I think I'll grow it out and do it again!  Vanuatu was very hair-growing friendly so shouldn't be a problem to grow it long again when I get there.  :)
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Thulesen family home on the range

We had a Thulesen family get-together (minus my Uncle Dick, who visited a few weeks later) in September and went out to see the ranch that my dad and his siblings all grew up on.  Gretch and I had never been out there so it was a great opportunity to see a bit of the Thulesen family history in person.  Now the deck that my parents are building has rocks incorporated from this homestead since they brought some back into town.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Carving Pumpkins

My parents grew a nice big garden to share with us since we were around this year.  And that meant pumpkin carving! :)
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36 years!

My parents celebrated their 36th anniversary this week.  We took them out to a new Chinese place in town for a family lunch.  Congratulations to them!  :) 

Friday, October 7, 2011


Today my mom taught us canning and we also tried out a nifty juice extractor to can some apple juice!  We did pretty much everything wrong with the pressure cooker canner (a new thing for all of us) but mistakes make the best teacher, right?  We'll try again next month maybe making soup or canning meat, but for now we have a few pints of green beans and apple juice, and a couple quarts of apple butter to eat.  Yum.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Missionary Medical Intensive

Gretchen and I just got back from a medical intensive designed for missionaries ministering in rural areas who may not have medical help accessible in an emergency.  We trained with a group in North Carolina in their program called Missionary Medical Intensive.  Click here to check out the organization  Originally it was meant for EMTs and nurses, but they've dumbed it down some for us laypeople.  :)  It was hands down the best training I've been to in a decade.  They were very God-focused, hands-on, practical, and had excellent, humble, relational teachers (doctors and nurses).  The other students were great to get to know as well.  I had a fantastic roommate, Erika, and our friend Christina who we met in Vanuatu came the same time so we were able to have some time with her as well!  Here are pics.

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I also thank God for good health during the time!

Also, the 2nd week we were gone, Houghton was able to go to a solar/water/septic training as well to help fill in the gaps of understanding in those areas. We are so thankful for these opportunities to be better prepared for our long-term ministry in Vanuatu!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vanuatu Bible translation video

Our friend Mendy made this video highlighting local Bible translators in Vanuatu.  Here it is and well worth a watch!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Baptisms 8-11

Some of my friends got baptized recently and what an honor it was to get to witness it!  Here's pictures of these Christians, demonstrating publicly, in obedience to God, that they have trusted in Christ as their Savior from sin.  Praise God!
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Family vacation 8-11

Because of my parents generosity and planning, we were able to vacation in Rapid City, South Dakota on our way back from the Minnesota family reunion!  Here's pics from our fun time together.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Flip-flop friends

 Another awesome part of being in Minneapolis is that we met a new friend, Janet, who has been praying about Vanuatu for several years.  We met up with her and her girls and they bought a whole bunch of flip-flops for us to give out in Vanuatu! They were also a great encouragement to us and prayed for us. Pretty cool how God arranges divine opportunities!
 Hannah, Julia, and Janet

Benhardus family reunion

After our time in northern Minnesota, we got to go to Minneapolis to spend time with my mom's family and have a family reunion there.  It's been a long while since we've done that!  We arrived a few hours too late to see my cousin Heidi and family but everyone else was there other than my cousin Dawn, who's serving with the Peace Corps in The Gambia (West Africa).  Here's pics from our get-together.
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Northern Minnesota

Here's pics from our visits to Marcell and Duluth, Minnesota the beginning of August.  These churches have some great friends of ours and of Vanuatu and it was great to catch up with them again after 4 years away!  Here's a few pictures from our visit.  WOWzers, the intro on this Smilebox is painfully long, sorry about that!  I promise, there really are pictures in there after the intro plays itself out.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A few preliminary pics

I have loads of pictures to get from Gretchen and my mom to have a real post about our time in Minnesota and S Dakota, but here's a few fun preliminary shots in the meantime!  The first few are our 1st 2 stops in MN seeing our supporting churches and friends there.  Sorry, I left all the family photo shots to my mom and Houghton so have to get those on here later!  After that it's family vacation in S Dakota which was super fun!

 Hanging out at the lake at the Steinbrenners. What cool friends they are!

Already missing you, Faltynskis! 
 Family vacation shots in S Dakota. 


This contraption with the slide rocked! My mom had a bit too much fun on it and hurt herself but when we were chiding her for going too fast her response was: "it was totally worth it!" Wow, now that's dedication. :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Impressive Idaho

Here are some pictures in and around Boise, and then of western Idaho from my drive up to eastern Washington and then on up to western Montana.

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July friends pics

Here are pics from friends I got to see in July, mostly in Boise but some on my way back to eastern Montana. Furlough is great for catching up with friends after 3 years away!

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