"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!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Graduating Class of 2012

At WISE graduation comes a bit earlier than most are used to.  Ours was yesterday.  Earlier this week 14 acceptance letters were sent for the fall class!  Start praying for those 14 to be able to get their paperwork, residencies, and money for travel finished.  (In case you did not know WISE through faithful supporters) is able to help those in surrounding Caribbean countries to come to WISE through a work/study program, but they need to raise money for their plane ticket to arrive here.  In most countries near us, a plane ticket is more than their family makes in a year.  So, that is a big commitment for them.  Please be in prayer for them.

Our current freshman students continue on with their studies.  We are excited to have a country cook off over their week break before summer classes start.  With the students from different countries, of course they all believe their country makes the best food, so we will find out soon!  Pray for these 10 students who are here away from family and the familiarity.  While they have almost completed their 1st year courses, everyone says the summer is the hardest while here for the intense 20 month year round program.  Hot days continue, long classes without breaks, and homesickness can often set in for the students around this time. 

Our current students are growing up.  When they come here, they arrive sometimes (mostly the guys) having never cooked.  They right away are put on a cooking/cleaning team of  3 students that rotates days of who is preparing, fixing the meals at WISE.  On each team is always a 2nd year student.  Once the 2nd yr graduates leave (tomorrow), the students go to a team of 1.  This will last through the summer helping them become a leader and gain complete knowledge of doing the cooking/cleaning by themselves for the day.  So by the time our new freshmen class arrive the new 2nd year students are ready to teach and lead their new team of 3 with the new batch of students.  If you come to visit, you get to experience this cooking, it really is a treat!

And below, though a small class, is our graduates. We will miss the 3 of them. I would love to gush about where they are headed to and the ministries they will be leading in their home countries. But, that is all in our upcoming newsletter. So, if you don't get it, let us know and we will send it to you. For now enjoy the pictures!

Our graduates: Cene, Colastin, and Onest

I got the job of cake decorating again.  Luckily it was eaten fast so not many people could see how unprofessional it was.

Some of our 1st yr students sang a beautiful special.

Brother Sruti, a local minister and past graduate, gave the message.

Current staff & their spouses

Friday, April 13, 2012

Our roles

     Here at WISE what do we do besides live on a beautiful Carribbean island and soak up the sun?  Well, on occasional Saturday afternoons we do try to head down to the beach and teach the kids how to swim and just soak up where we live.  We have also found that if we tell a nearby hotel we are locals, they let us come swim there for a COKE!
      For Brice, though, his primary responsibilities are teaching classes at the college, directing staff, disciplining students when needed, meeting with past graduates, meeting with area ministers, preaches in chapel, planning, keeping in communication with our board, paying bills, planning graduation currently, planning curriculumm and schedules, keeping in contact with potential students, and leading staff times and prayer.
     For Amanda she teaches and takes care of our kids, will in the future teach preschool, cooks, cleans, helps and will take over fellowship on Saturdays with the students, secretary work for the school such as payroll and taxes, attends ladies Bible study, and recently started mentoring/praying with the girls at the college one on one.
     Naiyah is trying to befriend every kids around us and is in the church kids choir here.  She loves iguanas and begs to go to the beach constantly.
     Beckett begs to buy a car constantly as he still dreads walking the hills here:)
     Paxson just enjoys driving everyone here crazy since mom lets him down to climb and crawl on everything.  And in this culture you don't let young ones down to get dirty like that. 
     Together we lead Kids Club, write newsletters, keep supporters updated, answer e-mails, walk and talk to families in the community, teach Sunday night kids church, attend church services, organize groups and future tachers, write thank you's, and pray often.

Here is Colastin, she is our only girl graduate next week and we will miss her leaving WISE!  She was my first to meet and go get a drink and have some girl mentoring time.

Pax's new friend....or not:)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sickness with the Kids Here

Many children in St. Vincent have gotten sick lately with vomiting/diarrhea and are hospitalized due to dehydration.  People have been saying possibly it came from something in the water as their are so many young children sick with it.  This past week Levi (pictured above with his mother is 1 got it) who is a staff child at the mission and then another 2 yr old girl at our church were hospitalized for several days.  Thanks for praying...they are better and running around again now.

Of course always on the go, we went to the hospital to visit them....I keep seeing that with 3 kids now things change a bit.  We have always been on the go, in peoples lives, and involving our kids.  Typically missionary in the past would send their kids to boarding schools, but now a days lots of missionaries hire someone to work for them and help watch their kids while they are ministering in the community.  We saw that with most in Haiti. 

For us, though, we wanted it differently.  So we take our kids with us, but with 3 and one still under 1...I have to step back and let Brice do more, and I am seeing that is okay and it helps him be equipped even more as the leader.  So on the trip to the hospital with so many sick the kids and I did not get to go in to love on all the sick children.  But, Brice did get to go in....and as this is a blog about life here I thought some might want to know what the hospital is like here.

We circled around for close to an hour for a place to park at the hospital - there is none.  I guess you have someone drop you off.  Simone (the mother above) informed Brice that when they came in...they had to wait for 3 hours, there was no option.  Even as her little boy continually vomited at 3 am all over himself, they made them sit there and there was nothing she could do to get him help before that.  Later, after admission he did get an IV and care.  So glad they did and are okay.  And we'll be sure and take extra good care of you while here so you won't have to experience the hospital here!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Missing Thankfulness

Gratitude - an extremely hard subject to talk about.
We have a job where because people give, we are able to serve. We are so grateful and yet there are times we forget to be.  But, it is easy for me to overlook those in myself.
Someone sends support and we are thankful and we write a thank you note.  Our family often prays for our supporters and their needs.  We constantly feel so overwhelmed by others love and yet...
We lived and taught in a culture where people begged for things, as they had nothing.  You gave them something and they would ask for more.  You could start a mob in seconds by handing out pieces of candy. 
We are still in a Caribbean culture surrounded by those that have less than what is typical in the American culture.  We have groups visit and hand out things and still people here will take and say nothing. Secretly I know inside they are thrilled with the gift, so I don't understand why they mask their emotions?
 I was raised always saying thank you when given something. How easy is it for us to obtain a package of thank you cards for $1 at the store and drop a note of thanks in the mail?  Although, nowdays I hear the columnists say you don't have to write thanks anymore.  So maybe it is everywhere.
 But sometimes in my heart I think where is their thankfulness?  Why can't they say thank you....do they realize people might not give to them again because they showed no gratefulness or may not want to support here?  For me personally, it is no fun to give when the other seems to not care.
I am no expert on the new culture we are in or have lived in Haiti, so I may be missing it.  But, I started thinking about it.  Every time people come and visit and they share with you.  It's such a wonderful thing whether material gifts they leave or their gift of serving alongside you and encouraging you....that after a time, do we forget to cherish it?  Have maybe we witnessed it so much that we take it for granted and feel it is due?  (Certainly there is a lot of debate on this with the government in the States- but I will stay out of that.)  Or is it more than the idea of feeling it is due you, is it a feeling of pride to show gratefulness?  I realize most can't get access or afford the costs of sending a card for each kindness, but is saying the two words of "thank you" just not done anymore?
Looking at me and our way of life, do I take for granted all the people who sacrifice material things so we can live here, do I write the thank you but truly forget to be thankful, do I accept your help and seem like it is due?    Can I look at others and wonder why they aren't thankful when in my own life I take it for granted?  As we tend to focus more on Christ's sacrifice for us all now, I can't help but think of how we take for granted all He did for us too.  To give your son's life for our sins, unfathomable.
And yet, as we were reading Exodus16, God led His people out of slavery.   And were they thankful?  No, they complained for food after having their lives spared!  No gratefulness there.  But, did He abandon them and say as I sometimes think, "No more for you, since you weren't grateful."  Nope- the Lord said, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you."  Still He gives to them. The story goes on and later there is still more complaining.  But, God does not give up.  He keeps teaching them and providing for them and disciplining sometimes when needed. 
We're praying for you and thankful for you!  We're praying to always be so grateful.  And we are praying when days seem a bit discouraging or others are missing it or complaining (this could be us too) that we keep teaching, providing, encouraging thankfulness, and disciplining and learning when needed.