"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. We worked day and night in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you." 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9

This blog is much more than our family and our crazy antics. After being overseas in Haiti for 4 years we prayed about coming back to the States and just still felt like God was going to use our family overseas...so here we go again. The big move to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and now the school growing and moving to Barbados. We just can't seem to rest until our family can love as many as we can to relationships with Christ. We always feel so blessed to meet the many people we get to serve with overseas, and of course love that you are reading with us as we serve in a new culture!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Royals Visit to St. Vincent

The newspaper (comes out once a week), friends, and neighbors here had been telling us about how Prince William and Kate were coming to visit here as part of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to the throne — the Diamond Jubilee.  This country is among several former British colonies in the regions that still hold the Queen as head of state, with a governor general acting as her representative.Naiyah and I were ecstatic....well, she was after I told her their story and showed her their recent wedding pictures.  What little girl doesn't get excited about a young princess? 

We live just blocks from the airport, so by 6 am we were up watching the airplanes....no new airplanes came except the smal commuter flights....and knew they would be in something nicer!  By 8:30 we decided to drive around and see if anything was different on the Island and well....we got caught in this huge line  of traffice of everyone trying to get to the dock to see them come in by ship.  All the streets were lined with St. Vincent flags and full of people.  We talked with some security who told us we would be able to get into the botanical gardens (which are the oldest ones in the Carribbean) and that was a private ceremony where school children would sing and dance in a program and they would present the royals with an award.  So, we hitchhiked 2 miles across town.  And they let us right in.  I guess they thought we were guests, who knows. 

Naiyah had wanted to wear her fancy dress and tiara from her Aunt's wedding....so as we walked in all the kids waiting started waving their Vincentian flags at us and cheering and wanting pictures.  We were laughing and telling the kids to smile and wave back.  THey brought us right to the front of the ceremonies.  I am not sure who they thought we were, but at this point I thought for sure we would get to an autograph of Prince William and Kate and at least shake their hands. 


Here are some of the school children lined up ready to sing.


Here is Nai unsure why kids are handing her flags and things.


Pictured above is Prince Edward.  Brice says he can see the family resemblance, at this point I still wanted it to be Prince William and Kate.  More royalty info...he is the brother of Prince Charles if this helps. 
Finally at about noon (we have now learned royalty are on Carribbean time too), the newspaper had said award at 9:28am- the convoy arrived.  And out stepped......The Earl and Countess of Wessex — Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Rhys-Jones.  What?   We were a bit disappointed....okay a lot.  We must not know our royal history, as we had not clue who these people were.  We have since learned Prince Edward is 7th in line for the throne.  But, there had a been a switch up and Prince William was not accepting the award and  here this day.  Bummer....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thank you, Sister Bea!

For over 25 1/2 years Sister Bea has lived, taught, mentored, cooked, and served at WISE.  We got the priviledge of honoring her last night from the staff, students, and friends here in St. Vincent.  She is joining her husband in Canada at a church he will minister to there.  We are happy they will be reunited and serving and impacting people there, but so many will miss her here.  While we only got 2 months working with her, it is unimaginable to think of all the student lives she impacted over the years! 





We played a game of "Who Knew Sister Bea the Best".  I tried to find things to stump them, but alas her best friend won!  Our current students scored the lowest :)   Then, the staff made a special tribute slide show and presented her with gifts.  And the staff ladies prepared a special dinner.  I got the cake decorating job.  And thanks to a special friend in Haiti...I tried out my skills.  I am not sure how my friend Beth does hers, as 4 hours in this heat later... the icing was dripping...but I guess it tastes the same however it looks!

We will miss you, Sister Bea!


So few people

There are 4 Christian churches form our brotherhood here on the island.  One is Georgetown Christian Church we pictured below on the Atlantic Ocean side about an hour from us.  Another is Arnos Vale Christian Church, which is located at the campus of WISE.  The third is below:

Fountain Christian Church


All of these churches were started or are now pastored by WISE graduates.  Brother LLoyd pictured at the front is a past graduate and ministers to the congregation there.  The 4th we have yet to visit but will. 
 It is always a joy for us to visit them and meet them as they serve and minister in congregations and yet also have full-time jobs elsewhere to support their families.  It is rare for churches in the Carribbean to be able to pay their ministers if much at all.  It also saddens us as we are not looking for mega churches, but everywhere we go we see so many people on this island.  And they are so kind, yet they are not in the churches.  They greet you and yet go about their usual daily work of cleaning, working, and existing.  We just keep praying that a revival can and will happen here. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Life Before And Now

IF you missed our newsletter- here is a list we compiled of what life was like for us as youth ministers in Colorado compared to being in Haiti and now being in St. Vincent:

United States                                  Haiti                          St.Vincent

Driving- Seat belts, car seats          Taxi mopeds               Driving on opposite side of road;
                                                                                           vans 4 public transport

Greetings- “Hey, Hi, Hello”         “Bon jou, Bonswa”      “Good Morning, Good Afternoon,
                                                                                            and Good night” – very proper

People w/Churches- varies            full of worshippers     post God view, lots see no need for Him

Laundry- Washers, dryers            Mission had machines    Hang on the line

Landscape- All kinds                   Dusty, land stripped       Mostly Hills, Mountains

Water- out of faucet                    bottled                              boil water

Addresses- streets signs            no regular mail                  none-go by landmarks, such as we
                                                                                             live in ArnosVale, by BomBom,
                                                                                             upstairs of only 2 story home

Trash- pickup                           burn or toss on ground      bag & store waste food in freezer 4pickup

Weather- seasons                     Mostly hot                         Always warm- 80 degrees

Electricity- dependable            little                                  Different voltage

Waiting- fast pace                    slow pace                         long lines of waiting

Language- English                   Creole                              English & Vincentian Creole                   

Noise- Depends                                                               Honking & Airplanes- have to
                                                                                        stop  teaching for departures

Beaches- fun in the sand         filled with trash             black & white volcanic sand

Food-     variety                      rice, beans, goat            rice, beans, chicken, iguana

Our jobs- youth ministry         teaching                       teaching-directing-accounting

Gas- about $3.50 a gallon                                            close to $7 US a gallon      

Security- locks                     gated compound              barred windows, double iron doors

Neighbors- too busy             friendly                         share food & advice on raising your kids


This was just a small taste of what our family is experiencing as we transitioned to the States to Haiti and now here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Website Finished!

Some super sweet friends from our small group back 6 years ago in Colorado totally redesigned the WISE website.  We are so thankful.....and I hate to brag but he did such a fantastic job!   So go to -

windwardislandsschoolofevangelism.org

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cricket


Cricket is the sport here and the only one!  It's a bit like baseball with board hitting.  These boys play right outside our house. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Simple Traditions

When we were in Haiti we could almost always find a snickers bar downtown....so for Holidays there we always gave each Snickers bars.....getting one inside your stocking or Easter basket or opening a gift and finding a Snickers for your present was such a delicious treasure. 
Growing up for Valentine's Day my father always had us 4 kids go on a scavenger hunt and at the end would be the standard heart box full of chocolates for each one of us.  Sometimes you could even find those in Haiti.  I thought it would be fun to get those for the kids this year.....but in St. Vincent we could find no chocolates in a box that were not at least $10 US for a mini box.  So...we scrambled.....
Pink pancakes for breakfast (what 5 yr old does not love pink?), decorating homemade heart cookies and icing, making Valentine's for each other from construction paper, and even making a Valentine's box to put our cards in.  (Kleenex boxes are great for this, since the hole is already precut and that is the hardest part!)  All this was done together (even a 2 yr old and 7 month old included).  We had a blast.....and while originally I had thought how nice would it be to go out on a date with Brice (we don't yet know anyone well enough to have asked to stay with all 3 kids), this turned out to be such a special family tradition we will continue each year.  

"I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them"  John 17:13



Our family was ecspecially thankful this time of God's love He has shown us as He grows us here.  We had a great time reflecting on that this month and we can see in His word how He wants us to have His joy.  We are filled with joy at the work He has called us to here and pray that for you where you are at too.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Dream Day

Well, we have made it our first month being here and decided to do a bit of sightseeing.  We feel so spoiled and as you look at the pictures you can see why!  Not only is it beautiful here, people are so friendly, and we are feeling like this is home.  We were talking with the kids last night and I asked Naiyah what she loved about being here and she answered by naming all her new friends here.  She gets to have quite a list with the neighborhood kids, other staff children, and students from the college. 

Often people comment to us our kids must have a hard time being away from family and other adjustments.  So, I asked what was hard about living here here and all she could come up with was, "when kids we play with sometimes argue" So, I have to think so far they are adjusting great!

So, today our family drove the mission van (Brice got his license to drive here) to the other side of the island and went to the waterfalls.  To get there as you hike to them, you cross a real bamboo bridge.  On the way to the waterfalls, though we made a stop where a very famous movie was filmed.  If you did not know...."Pirates of the Carribbean" movies were filmed right here in St. Vincent!  Well, most of it for the first film and some for the sequel.   You now have to rent the movie and go back and watch it to see the pictures today.  It is a bit hard to picture as Hurricane Thomas destroyed a lot of it and also looters have taken some too.  Plus, some you have to imagine as computer animation added a bit to the background. 
The fun part too is in St. Vincent you are called a local if you live here.  So, when we told the people living there that we were locals, they pointed out all these extras to us. They also told us all about the actors/actresses and fun tidbits.  We decided anyone who comes on a trip to work with the mission will have to come experience this as a day of fun and will quickly see this missions trip as a dream vacation all rolled into one experience!

Here you can see the pole Jack Sparrow swung from in the movie.





The bridge Jack Sparrow ran across...the trees are still the same, though the bridge pieces have been looted.





All of the above you can see in the movie, mostly at the beginning scenes.

Here is the rock they had pirates hanging from.


This is the rickety bamboo bridge that was so fun to cross to get to the waterfall below.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Always Be Prepared


This past Sunday we went to one of the other 3 Christian churches across the island.  Even though it is only about 13 miles away, it took about 45 minutes to get there.  One of the past graduates of WISE preaches there.  Right as we arrived they quickly asked if we would assist the young boy on the drums by playing the keyboard for worship.  Then at the end of the service they asked Brice as the new director to come share about the College.  We had been warned anytime you are at a church in the Carribbean, Brice should have a sermon in his pocket.  Brice is fine with this...not me.  Public speaking terrifies me unless I have had time to prepare something, which is one of the many reasons I am grateful to be married to someone who can speak comfortably at a moment's notice.  I had gotten away with not having to share this past year while on furlough at churches since I was usually with the kids.  But, after Brice finished sharing...the minister then said, "Now let's have his wife come and share about what she thinks of all this"....so I guess you can say in the Carribbean churches everyone needs to be prepared to share:)


Here is some of their congregation....behind you can see the ocean waves coming in. 





Here is the rubble next to their building when part of it got destroyed by tropical storms.  For some reason our kids thought it was a playground:)

A few days ago, the neighbors finally butchered their iguana...and they shared a big bowl of it with us.  Our kids must be adjusting to the culture as on our way home from church an iguana crossed the road and Beckett said, "Eat him!" 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Slowing down from a fast pace

Our youngest son, Paxson, has been dealing with thrush for a bit....so we thought let's go down to the local pharmacy and get some medicine.  Even here you can't just get medicine...you need a perscription.  So, we walked a few more blocks to a new doctor's office.  After a bit the doctor comes out and passes by, asks what is wrong, checks Pax, and says, "Yes, it is thrush.  You need a perscription.  I will see you in awhile in my office."  And then he proceeds to the next patient.  An hour and a half later, we entered his office and he checked Pax all over.  After seeing him, he asked us what was wrong with his pale skin color.  Apparently, he does not have many white patients:)
Awhile later, he finally wrote us a perscription, we got to walk 8 blocks away to another pharmacy that was supposed to be open later.  It has closed since our appoinment lasted longer than expected...but a lady in the back came and reopened for us and got us the needed medicine. 
Sometimes I can go through these new exeriences and think this is ridiculous waiting so long and going through all this check-up when we just needed a note for medicine.  I think we know a better way things should be done.  I guess I just want things done at a faster pace....but then I sit here and I am thinking at a slower pace.
I am thinking of how thankful I am for a caring doctor nearby that recognized the problem and yet still wanted to spend time checking over everything.  I am thankful that he cared about each patient and would take time seeing each one. I am thankful for a clinic nearby we can walk to if needed that only cost us $8 US dollars.  And I am thinking of a pharmacy full of medicines available.