"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!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Waiting & More Waiting

We're trying to learn the Caribbean way of life and just go with it:)  But, it is not in me, this planning side of mine!   One day this week we spent the afternoon at a local cement block company.  We are rebuilding a wall on the side of the school that was falling, and we had paid this company to deliver the blocks for it.  After promising delivery, 3 weeks later and $500 US dollars later we still had received nothing.  So, we had to get other block and this company told us they were not making anymore blocks.  Well, (yes, I am a cheapskate and especially when it comes to supporters money) I decided this was not okay, even if we are in another country and they do things differently.

So after being told they have no number and can't do reimbursements.  Afternoons if we miss naps can be crazy in our house.  So, we packed the kids up and unleashed them on this company for the afternoon.  I was determined that my crazy, sleep deprived 3 yr old and 11 month old boys would drive them crazy into giving us the money or blocks.  Not to mention surely 3 hours of a 5 yr old asking you non-stop questions would convince you to hand it over so we would get out of the tiny office.  I was determined to wait it out until they delivered.


Waiting them out at the cement company.


Here were the people really out waiting us.

I underestimated Caribbean life.  They are used to waiting and doing nothing but wait.  So, after all that time and repeated phrases, "We did not take your money.  It just happened.  Someday you will get the bricks."  I realized I was not going to be able to reason, drive them crazy, or out wait them.  Such is life here sometimes.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mizzou Campus Christian House


Trench at the beginning of the day.Trench at the end of the day.
Beach on St.Vincent.
These are from the group's photos.  They have a blog set up at Mizzou Campus Christian House and are showing all the amazing work they are doing here at WISE.  I think you can click on the link below.  We are so grateful for all their help and laughter! 
Please pray for them as most of the work they had done the past few days and all the buckets of dirt they hauled was washed away in the big rainstorm yesterday. 
http://cchmissions.tumblr.com/post/23202293042/today

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why do they always give me things?

"Mommy, why does everyone that visits always give me things?"  asked my 5 year old daughter when a recent group member brought her a toy to have.  By no means does she not want the toy they brought her, but she has noticed that every person that visits comes bearing gifts.  And it challenged me.

As a missionary overseas for 5 years now, I do notice every time a visitor or groups comes, they come bearing gifts.  It's a treat and one I am sure every missionary is grateful for.  They come from hearts of love.  And my answer to my daughter of  "They love you" can't work as she says,  "But we don't even know them. "  So I answer, "And they want to help.  They are sharing what they have and want to share with you."  She accepts that answer and is excited to play with her new toy. 

It makes me think of the countless faces I have seen receive gifts from strangers when they visit.  Just this past week a visiting group handed out bouncy balls to our community kids.  You could see the excitement, lit up eyes, and eager hands to grab theirs.  I know where some of these kids live and how they live without most everything but their families, clothes on their back, and a tin roof over their head.  And I can see now why they expect when a group is here to get something fun.  I see better now why every time we are in a home here we are asked for money to get food or gas for a generator if they have one. 

White skin here often makes people see wealth and affluence.  I can't tell you the number of times we are asked for things, even our stroller has been begged for.  Anywhere we walk in a 2 mile radius we can stop and talk to someone and they can tell us where we live down to the house.  I can recall how Brice had been taking his lunch hour to meet with a man who had denounced giving up his job (if you call it that or else crime) of burglary and handed over his mask to Brice.  I remember telling Brice to meet the guy away from our house, so if he went back to that profession, he would not know where we lived to hit us next.  Of course he already knew where one of the few white families lived in our area without us pointing it out to him.  On one hand it is nice to know people know where to find you when they need you and what you are about and doing here.  On the other hand, sometimes constantly being begged for things can be hard and downright disheartening.

My own daughter can see the pattern that when a visitor comes, they usually will bring something for her.  By no means, am I trying to brag or expect this, it just happens.  If anything, I loved the initial idea of my kids being missionary kids to have less and focus more on sharing with others.  Who knew I would be fighting the battle of my daughter being indulged because we do this?  So, if my family sees this, it is no wonder people with less beg and expect.  When we see them we want to help and give, and they see this and after a pattern, they come to expect too.

The hard part - realizing that saying no is okay and for the best, even though it is so hard.  Helping them learn to help themselves and others encourages them.   For instance, rather than giving them the money we are so often asked for, we are trying to give them a job or a way to support themselves.  We don't always do this, sometimes we have done money, but we are learning.  Even this man that promised to give up his burglary profession for a nice pair of clothes to start going to church, we have yet to see.  But as we live in this, we begin to see.  Rather than just handing out gifts to our community kids who need things, we encourage them to make things and help pick family fruits/vegetables to share that we and others can buy to help them.  Or for the grandma who can't afford to send her son to school next year, we are excited to have her son come to our preschool next year and in return she can help serve at the preschool.

It seems simple and yet makes me see all over why people expect handouts.  Though, we are away from politics...I often hear complaints over the handouts the government gives in the United States.  And I can't help but think if we all abided my these principles of not just giving, but encouraging for all to valued to help.  It truly is better to give than to receive.  So can we teach those who are so poor they have only received that they can give too?  I think so.  Even in the States when I was involved in homeless ministry just handing out food every week was okay, but when we had them each helping and one of them cutting hair  for all and another playing music for all to enjoy, they felt encouraged and that they could offer something.  I love seeing faces light up when they realize how gifted each of us are.  And we all are, God made us that way!

So I guess what is in your bag to hand out does not matter as much as what you come to share with your words and your hearts to encourage them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Groups!


Renee Ferneau (from Blue Springs Christian Church, where our good friends the Bridges in Haiti are from) was giving the kids a Bible lesson.





Love this game, instead of a parachute- who knew you could use a sheet?



We are having too much fun!  The school here is starting to show lots of wear, so several groups decided to give up time and finances and come help us.  This groups of 8 girls and 4 boys are rebuilding the retaining wall that is holding up the school that started to lean....what troopers!  After many delays, they finally made it.  And they actually got all of their bags after about 7 hours of arrival time.  They came in right in time for Kids Club and you can see the kids loved it!  So do we....what an encouragement to get to partner with this Campus House every year!  What a blessing it is for our college kids to serve with other college kids from the States, even if they are Tigers:)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Introducing newest WISE teachers: The Keller's

We are so excited to have EK (Errol) and Maddie Keller on board to come to WISE for a year to teach.  Though, they may fall in love with it so much, and hopefully come for longer:)  We have been praying for another couple to come here and teach with us, as Lance and Lisa Brooks leave this summer to get back and be with their aging parents.  And God answered our prayers through EK and Maddie!
They both went to Ozark, though they are younger than us.  Maddie is from Brice's home church of Forum Christian Church in Columbia, MO.  It is funny how God crossed our paths.  Maddie and I traveled to Haiti together and got to be roommates when Brice proposed.  We got to see her heart there for loving people way back then.  Later, we got to witness her commitment in marriage to EK.  And now we get to serve alongside them in the West Indies! 
We feel so blessed by their passion, excitement, and gifts they will bring to WISE.  When I am speaking to the students now, I can't help but get a big smile knowing soon these students will be so impacted through the Keller's here teaching them. 
We also have such amazing faithful, giving, and praying supporters that I would love for you to shower them with your prayers as they prepare to come and serve here with us.  To get to know them a bit better, here is a link to their creative website:
http://kellersinthecaribbean.blogspot.com/p/about-us.html

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Praying for God to....

Some friends of ours are about to lose their son after caring for him for close to a year.  I don't know that the situation with his birth mother is any better.  But, I know that they are dear friends who love him so much and are hurting. 
Crime once again hit our street and our next door neighbors and fellow WISE staff members were broken into yesterday morning.  They lost valuables, but not only that they felt their security threatened.  And they were saddened as this is the 2nd time for their house to be hit.  We are now one of the only 2 houses on our street not to be broken into lately. 
Friends of ours still ache from the sudden death of their son last August. 
Personally Brice and I are going through some things here we would ask for prayers, but cannot be more specific at this time.
Several of our board members were/are going through treatment for cancer. 
There is a group of 7 kids that come to our kids club we visited last week.  And they lived in even worse poverty than we had seen in Haiti.  It was a hike to get to their house on foot from us.  Their community of wooden 8 by 6 ft houses were built on stilts.  There was no way to squeeze there families of 5 or more, let alone a bed in there with a pot to cook on.  They had no electricity or running water.  and it aches as they beg for money continually, because they do need it.
These are only a few things on our hearts and in our prayers. For God to intervene.  For God to heal.  For God to provide.  For God to comfort.  For God to protect.  For God to guide.  Wow!  Our God is amazing!  I see these hurts and hurt and am sad, and then I see all God can do and does.  So as hurt continues, and I can't help physically sometimes, then I can seek God and see Him take care of all in His way. 

"Yes, Lord, walking in the way or your laws, we wait for You; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. 
Lord, you establish peace for us; all thta we have accomplished you have done for us." 
Isaiah 26: 8,12