Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Prayer. Prayer meeting. Prayer journal. Prayer chain. Praises and prayer requests. If you grew up like me, you have thrown these phrases around for so long, and in so many different ways, they may have almost lost their value. We are so connected these days, we get so many "prayer requests" for so many different things, constantly. Some people we know, some we will never meet. But how often do we really actually just pray? I confess this has not been my strong suit. I have spent more time talking about the prayer requests than in the praying itself! I am more of a doer, and in my quiet time, there is much more focus given to things other than praying. Wanting to change this, I started reading With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. Amazing! I have been convicted, encouraged, inspired, and challenged to approach the Father so differently! It is not cliche. He does hear us. He is waiting to hear from us. He longs to share His heart with us, and also His power as we allow Him to use us to accomplish His goals and His plan.

Prayer = Power 

The power of the perfect, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable God. Somehow, in a way my finite mind will never understand, our prayers have power. Thank you for joining with us as we pray, submitting ourselves entirely to the will of the Father, asking Him to take control of us and use us as He sees fit.

  • Of the thousands of newcomers (immigrants) that live in Worthington, a few special people have come across our path. We have developed friendships with 3 families, and have been able to meet some needs in their lives. Sometimes the simple things, a ride to Walmart for a family without a car, or assistance in filling out a job application when English is not your first language, can be a big help.
    •  My friend F. speaks no English, and stays at home all day taking care of her grandson. She had an accident at work and is no longer able to work, and experiences incredible pain and difficulty getting around. We are trying to help her get into an ESL class, eventually a citizenship class, and get access to some medical care for her knee. 
    • My friend H. moved to town a few months ago with her little boy, with nothing but a few suitcases of clothes. We met her and her son while in their neighborhood inviting people to VBS. Her living situation has not been good at all, and we are really excited that God answered prayer for her to get into a subsidized housing unit. We hope to help her move this weekend. However, she still has only their clothes, so she needs some furniture and the basic household items. We are praying for her to get a job, and taking her to interviews, etc. 
  • I have heard that sometimes children might say to each other, in a show of strength and pride, "My daddy could beat up your daddy!" Among my children's friends, the simple fact that they even have a daddy puts them way ahead of the group. We live among so many single parent families. These moms are trying so hard, but for the ones we know, survival is the main goal. We may not have alot materially, but we have found that for some reason, the neighborhood kids want to be at our house as much as possible. We have been praying about ways to use this opportunity to reach them and love on them. Maybe making Friday night "make your own pizza and watch a family movie" night open to the neighbor kids. We want to be open to whatever plans the Father has to use us to love these fatherless children around us. 
  • Patrick and I are going to be the small group co-ordinators at our church. We are really excited about this, because we have had such valuable, positive experiences in small group settings, whether Sunday School, Bible studies, or life groups. The pastor is preaching through the New Testament systematically, so the small groups will focus on different NT books. It is a great opportunity for the church, and we are excited about being able to participate. Pray for strong leaders to come forward, and for our church family here to be excited about learning and growing in community. 
  • We are thankful Patrick is nearly done with his seminary classes for this year! He will take the fall off to devote his time to preparing for, and taking, the Technical Evaluation. There are so many ways we want to be prepared: spiritually, culturally, technically, academically, and financially. Pray we would continue to be faithful working towards the goal, in all of these different areas. 

Thank you for taking a moment (or two!) to look at our blog. I know how precious your time is, and I am honoured that you stopped by! We don't have one specific theme. Rather, every week might have a different topic. Knowing that some people (ie. grandparents!) might be more interested in family life, and others may want more ministry progress reports, there is a search option at the very bottom. Also, each post is labeled according to topic, so you can easily find all the posts about flying, only the posts about homeschooling, etc., and pass on the ones that don't interest you as much. This is a new feature, so there aren't many in each category. But keep it in mind for the future.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

(many) snapshots of life in july

oh Saturday morning! After a week of blueberry banana spinach smoothies (better than you might think!), I am ready for some biscuits! As exotic as my tastes may run, nothing beats homemade biscuits with lots of jelly (this is rhubarb, a gift from our sweet neighbor), scrambled eggs, and fruit salad. and lots of (strong) coffee. Or sometimes pancakes and bacon. Either way, a good start to the day! 

The only thing that beats breakfast is family snuggle time. (My kids aren't the snuggling type. This probably lasted 30 seconds before they were jumping off the bed to the couch and screaming ;-) 

Wish I had taken more pictures of VBS. My hands were just kind of busy the whole time! My kids did an awesome job inviting people. We handed out hundreds of invitations, at local parks and neighborhoods. It was hot, but they were troopers. It is so exciting to see them start learning how to live out their faith. One of the spots we visited was a mobile home park. As not a single Caucasian person answered the door, they saw glimpses of many different cultures. We made some new friends (Ethiopian, again!), a single mom and a little boy, and have continued that friendship past VBS. 

The last night was lots of fun, with bounce houses, games, and the like. It is mostly melted, but the kids were proud of their face paints: Charlie and Ben are Spiderman, and Hannah was a fairy. 

The kids are growing up so much, we can take bike rides now! Well, I push the stroller with Caroline, as I have neither a bike nor a cart thing to pull her. Patrick redid Hannah's old bike and passed it along to Charlie, who is doing great. Hannah got a new one for her birthday, and rides all over the place without training wheels. Its fun to see them grow up. (Although the bike was a struggle for Hannah. Even with training wheels. Other parents, take heart: we kept trying (pleading, threatening, even bribing!) until she got it.)

On Canada Day weekend, up at my moms, we went to a community wide church service. It was really neat, and I finally got to meet my midwife's family. Its a small world. The midwife who helped me with Caroline, in Kansas, actually grew up in the small town in northern Ontario where my mom lives. Her parents moved there when she was young to be missionaries to the First Nations (Indian) communities. 

After church, we stopped at a food truck. Kenora has had chip (french fry) trucks for a long time, I think they were the original food trucks, before the craze. (Along with the ice cream trucks of my childhood.) But now they are so sophisticated, they have all kinds of specialty food trucks. There was one just for perogies. (How do you spell that, anyways?) 

This has got to be the world's largest piggy bank. Its to raise money for the Lake of the Woods. Canadian currency uses $1 and $2 coins, called "loonies" and "toonies". Or is it twonies? Mom, feel free to comment on that for me. (my cultural lesson of the day ;-) So that is going to be one heavy bear. I had a hard time keeping Caroline in "church", as she just wanted to climb all over it. 

dont know if its because, other than Frisco, we have lived in places with limited restaurant options. But I almost always like homemade. (Unfortunately I dont like doing the shopping, cooking, and cleaning up though. Just the eating.) These calzones were really good! It is good practice, to know how to make these things from scratch. Something tells me I shouldnt count on a Pizza Hut always being a phone call away

The interesting city we currently call home hosts an annual International Festival. This, as you can imagine, sounded really exciting to me. Patrick had to work, but the kids and I trekked down there, took our blanket, and stayed all day. (Oh, how life gets easier when you dont have little babies!) It was really neat. The performers included acts from many different countries. The Kenyan acrobats were out favorites, and they were really impressive! Amazing. They shared interesting facts about their culture as they performed, so that was neat for the kids. We went up to talk to them after, and the woman told me to email her, so when we got to Nairobi, we could go visit her family, and they could help us if we needed anything. I know she was very sincere, not just being polite. As hard as I anticipate it being, to move back to Africa, it is small reminders like that, of how generous and hospitable people are, that help me so much. 

Since this is a blog about our everyday life, I can talk about potty training, right? UGH, potty training! It is not going well this time around. It fits in with everything else Caroline related, come to think of it. like sitting at the table, etc. Sometimes it works, most of the time it doesnt. And I am too distracted/busy to pay much attention to it :-(. Geez Louise, its a good thing I'm not having any more children! 

Our pilot and co-pilot taking us to. . . 


It was ten years ago this August that I invited myself along on Patrick's roadtrip from Mechanicsville Virginia, to Haviland Kansas, to Longview Texas. (Well, I waited for him to think of it himself, but sometimes a girl's just got to help things along, right? Havent regretted it for a second ;-) I had been in Canada all summer, doing my public health internship on an Indian reservation up there, and Patrick was heading to TX to start school. He was going to stop by to visit his extended family in Kansas. I knew how important they were to him, and I knew how important he was to me, so I figured we all needed to get together. And soon, as i was getting ready to leave for Senegal at the time. Since then, it (and its inhabitants!) has gained a special place in my heart. We had a good visit, with family and at our home church.

 it is difficult to get good pictures, especially on my phone, which takes blurry pictures if anybody is moving. (and the kids are always moving.) Sometimes they are moving to put their ice cream bowls on their heads, for example. thats always a good idea, isnt it? she thought so. 

Patrick's paternal grandparents still live on the farm, and his maternal grandmother lives on the edge of town. So both places are perfect for the kids to roam! I push them outside whenever I can. Here they were walking to check out the garden, with Grandma Loretta 

Hopping in the back of the pickup for a tour of the fields. 

I love this picture of Loretta, because it is so good to know somebody else feels that way then they are watching Caroline! That is what I look like every day ;-) 

I know cities have their draw, believe me. But sometimes, a small town can be pretty special. We were outside getting ready to walk to the park, and the neighbor volunteered to take the kids on his little train, which is just barrels pulled by a riding lawnmower. But they had so much fun! 

Hannah with Grandma Jan. 

Special times: Caroline getting a night-night kiss from Nana; Patrick and Charlie churning the ice cream at our friends Kevin and Sarah Melvin's house.

A highlight of the trip for me: our path (sort of) intersected with that of my old friends Kari and Jonathan Masson, my former teammates in Senegal. They, along with their son Alec, still live there. But they are back in the States for the summer, and have family in Iowa. Which is next to Minnesota. So, here we are! Kari keeps up an awesome blog with beautiful pictures of Senegal and the Senegalese people, and stories of expat life in Africa. 

In deciding what to get Caroline for her birthday, I tried to think of what Hannah plays with most. Dress-up clothes! Then Caroline put her own spin on it: Cowgirl Minnie Mouse. My kids are very high energy, thats for sure. But the upside to that is that they are rarely ever bored! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Soaring high: how dreams become reality

While we will eventually serve overseas with Africa Inland Mission, we are currently with Proclaim Aviation. Proclaim is a really unique organization. When we found out about them, it was such an answer to prayer. We knew where we were, and we knew where we wanted to go. But how to get from point A to point B? The road seemed very long, and there were many unknowns and obstacles. A way where there seemed to be no way: Proclaim (along with a few other acts of God!) provided that for us.

They just launched a new website, and it is awesome! Sometimes people ask us where we are going, when, what we are doing in the meantime. (All valid questions, especially from our partners!) But I feel like I lose them somewhere in my response. Missionary aviation is such an important thing to so many missionaries, it really fills a special role in much of the developing world. So understandably, there is a price to pay for exclusivity: its really hard to get there! I felt that Proclaim explained all this much better than I ever have, so with permission, I am sharing it with you all here.

the backdrop

Needs on the field  More.  More. More.  Missionary Aviators, Aircraft Maintenance Specialists and the missionary personnel to sustain these efforts.  There are declining numbers of pilot/mechanic trainees, exacerbated by the high number of graduates who fail to make it to the field, along with the declining tenure of field missionaries.
Getting to the Mission Field   
The process to move from training to foreign service has many steps.  Overseas service is rigorous. Potential candidates are tested and examined to determine if their technical, emotional, professional and life abilities can sustain their families and their work overseas. Missions and Ministry agencies can only invest in candidates that can pass these rigors.  Yet, these steps are where resources and candidates can fall through the cracks. 

the obstacles

When a pilot or aircraft mechanic has finished their training in missionary aviation, they have all their FAA certificates, excellent knowledge and training, along with the burden of educational debt.
Flight Time  If overseas missionary service is the goal, Missionaries will need to gain additional flight hours, proficiency, and practical experience-- a process similar to medical internships and residency

Debt  In good stewardship, aviation missionaries must pay down their educational debt before they can head overseas.  This process can take several years, sometimes eliminating overseas service completely. 

Mission Aviation Schools   These schools work hard to provide training tailored to the stringent overseas regimen.  The training is technically advanced and meticulous.  Yet, these schools operate on little resources.

Aircraft   There is a need for a new generation of aircraft that can perform with big cargo, lots of passengers and still easily take off and land in unconventional and remote terrain.  All this while consuming jet fuel that is readily available overseas.

the solutions

By partnering with aviation schools, aviation ministries and foreign missions agencies, we build bridges.  Bridges of conversation and cooperation.  Bridges that streamline process and expedite resources.  Bridges that create solutions.  
Internships    Proclaim secures internships for our pilots and aircraft mechanics, giving them the arena to gain their proficiency and accumulate their necessary hours.  Many of our missionaries fill positions at mission aviation training programs, thus they are involved in training the next generation of mission aviators while they continue on their path to overseas service.  

Guidance   We seek to work with our mission aviators, guiding them through the steps and over pitfalls.  In this way, Proclaim is able to funnel a stream of aviators to overseas ministries. 

Financial   Along the way, we work with the missionaries to develop financial partners in their ministry, pay off educational debt and provide them with resources and opportunities to equip their families for the next phase of ministry. 

Mission Aviation Schools  Proclaim partners with Missionary Aviation Training Programs to not only provide instructors and staff from our missionaries, but to secure aircraft and other resources.

Aircraft   We maintain relationships with various companies seeking to provide missions with better aircraft solutions.  Thus, we are able to provide staff toward these endeavors, including training the current missionary aviators in these new technologies.

All of which leads to more missionary pilot/mechanics in the field! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Special days

yesterday, our baby turned 2. Since the beginning, she has been a firecracker. I am only now starting to see that I had it pretty easy with the first two kids. Caroline takes the terrible twos to a new level, at least in our family. So much passion inside such a little package. She keeps us on our toes, for sure. 

We went out for pizza with a few friends. 

Caroline was a popular girl, she got quite a phone calls from her extended family members. This was talking to my dad and Kim, during supper. I know technology has its downfalls, but I love how it can help us stay connected. 

Enjoying her cake. 

Love you, baby! 

As special as she is, life isn't all about her. (I know, you're probably thinking sheesh, wont she give it a rest once in a while? I'm sorry, at least I'm predictable!) South Sudan became a country the same day Caroline was born. As you probably know, the Muslim north has been fighting with the Christian south for a very very very long time. The fighting has been brutal, and horrible atrocities have been committed. Genocide, rape, bombings, and the like. Refugees have been pouring out of the area for ever, it seems. (Many have come to America; i bet there are some in your town!) Samaritans Purse alone takes care of approximately 20,000. Anyways, South Sudan did become its own country, but things have still been bad. I will never celebrate my daughter's birthday without taking a moment to think of and pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in South Sudan. check out  for more info. 
AIM Air has a base right at the border of Kenya and South Sudan, and does alot of work with the national church there. There is a chance we could work there one day! 

Also, Muslims around the world began Ramadan on July 9. Ramadan is a month long time of fasting, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines, like abstaining from temporal pleasures and giving to the poor. It is similar to the Christian Lent season. Except the fasting is much more difficult! As Muslims are seeking to know Allah more and submit themselves to his will, it is an especially important time to intercede for those who have a sincere heart to know the one true God. God will never turn away anyone who prays to Him in faith, with a sincere heart. Ramadan concludes with the Night of Power, when many Muslims ask Allah to reveal himself to them in dreams and visions. We can pray that God will show Himself to them. It is also a good time to show a sincere desire to learn more about the Muslim neighbors, friends, and coworkers we all have. As we show an interest in their faith, it opens up the relationship for more spiritual conversations. 
Click here for daily prayer articles for the next 30 days, and more information on how to pray for, reach out to, and relate to Muslims here in America and around the world.