"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, November 25, 2012

Student Council Beach Day

This year is the first year for Student Council at WISE with the help of the Keller's.  It is led by four students selected by the student body to plan events for the students. 
On this day they planned an all day beach/picnic outing.
 
 
Here is the way we get around.  We ride on public buses or the mission van.  No cars seats needed here, as the average speed is 30-50 km an hour.

 
Here are some of they guys playing games.

 
My four were so glad to get to go too!

 
One of the favorites of the day was jumping from one dock to another dock and swimming to another.

 
Trying to get them flipping off the side.

 
Somehow Bro. Jerry borrowed a raft to float around in.

 
Quincy used his flippers and mask to find some beautiful fish and coral.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Starting a Thanksgiving Tradition

Since this is our first Thanksgiving here in St. Vincent and they don't celebrate the Pilgrims landing here, we had to create how we would celebrate here. 
 
 
We still have school on Thanksgiving Day- both at the preschool and the Bible College.  Here are 2 of our students helping out one day. 

 
Our Thanksgiving dinner consisted of the Keller's and our visiting adjunct, Vance.  The best part for me was each of us sharing around the table what we are thankful for.  But, finding turkey here and Maddie's pumpkin pie and pecan bars were a close second!

 
And of course, we have to throw in some American baseball!

 
Who doesn't love Mrs. Maddie?

 
We had to go get some things for the upcoming Christmas program from downtown. We had no clue here too they do "Black Friday Shopping".  But, here you only got the 15% off discount if you were wearing black.  So glad I wore my black skirt today.  Unfortunately, Maddie's black purse did not count for the discount.


 
And then we had to get some food from the street vendors.  I got the chicken and chips (fries here).  Maddie, being more adventurous, got the shark and chips.  They were both so yummy!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving in So Many Ways


Give a Gift that Gives this Holiday Season!

Back when we were missionaries in Haiti, I worked with Allison Lowe. We worked right across the hall from each other and both had boys just a few months apart. Needless to say, we became close friends during our time in Haiti. The same year that we left Haiti to begin our new ministry with WISE, Allison and her family moved back to her home state of North Carolina, where her husband Lenny is working on his PhD. She also began working as an Independent Consultant with Thirty-One Gifts and she recently contacted me to see if she could help us raise funds for WISE through Thirty-One and we said YES!

As we all know, the holidays are fast approaching. Through this fundraiser, you have the opportunity to give a gift that gives back to WISE. Allison will be donating her 100% of her commission to WISE for every purchase that is made through this fundraiser being held November 23rd-December 5th.

We are hoping to add some new books to the WISE library through this fundraiser.  Most of the books are falling apart or very outdated here.  So shopping at Thirty-One not only buys great gifts this season, but it also will help us get some new resources here at WISE.

If you are not familiar with Thirty-One Gifts, I am sure you will find something for yourself or for someone in your family as the perfect gift. Thirty-One’s products are versatile, stylish, and many can be personalized with embroidery! Who doesn’t love a personalized gift?  To view the products, you can visit mythirtyone.com/Allisonlowe and click on “View Catalog.”

This is such an easy way for you to get some holiday shopping done AND help us out at WISE. It is simple. To purchase through this fundraiser:

1.       If purchasing before the 27th or if you’d like to pay by check, contact Allison directly. Her information can be found on mythirtyone.com/allisonlowe

2.       If purchasing on the 27th or after, go to mythirtyone.com/allisonlowe to view the catalog. From Allison’s home page, click on “My Parties” and then “WISE Fundraiser!” You must enter your order through this link in order for the donation to be made.

3.       After you place your order, 25% of the purchase price will go directly to WISE!

4.       If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or Allison directly!

5.       Fundraiser ends on December 5th!  This is when all orders will be placed together.

Also, don’t miss out on the amazing Customer Special going on! For every $31 spent, get a Mini-Utility Bin, Thermal Tote, Cinch Sac, Timeless Wristlet or Timeless Beauty Bag for only $5!

Thank you so much friends!
Amanda

Hiking to Visit a Student

 
We have always enjoyed being a part of the community wherever we live.  One way is getting to know our students and their families.  Here we are on our way to visit Oreldo.  The path to get there always has lots of snakes sunning themselves claims Oreldo's mom.  My kids were hoping to find some, but this time they slithered off before they heard us coming.

 
Walking with us is Vance Russell.  He came as a visiting teacher.  We are thankful to have him teaching here.  He is also one of the pastor's at my home church and supporting church.  What an encouragement it is to have the support of our churches sending their preachers to help us to teach here.  Thank you, Countryside!


 
Sweet girl helped us find the path.

 
Some of the boys on our walk who have come to KIDS Club!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Disappointment to Hope

Some days I feel like I am drowning and can get nothing done.  Some days I am so overwhelmed with thankfulness and joy and so many blessings.  Other days I feel discouraged I did not do enough.  Sometimes I even feel like I am going so crazy and need a break from it all (or at least hide in my closet while Brice watches the kids). 

The laundry with 5 people everyday always has a dirty pile, and even the goal of washing one load a day, getting it hung to dry, still means after drying it needs to be put away before there is another pile.  The 2 one year olds babies eat at least 3 times a day, and always they leave a pile of crumbs to sweep up.  There is always a neighbor, preschool mom, or college student that wants to talk.  Then, there are meals to make, lessons to prepare, and quality time to spend with family.  And it never all gets done.  I felt like I kept spinning, but never getting anywhere.  Just existing some days. 

I thought I could get through each day on my own strength...I will myself to do it.  I will have the cleanest house.  I will be supermom.  I will have the best marriage.  I will read from the Bible each day.  I will do it this and that.  And I get by.  Existing, but missing something.  And my heart feels it.  I felt this big hole, this disappointment.  This feeling I am not getting anywhere really.  I can't do it all, though it looks like it sometimes. 

I started piling all these feelings on myself- feeling disappointed I was not doing a perfect job at it all.  So I started prioritizing.  Spend real time with God, spend quality time with my husband each evening praying and enjoying each other, giving real attention to my kids, loving our kids at preschool and Kids Club and their families one on one, giving my husband more time to minister at the Bible College.  Then comes correspondence to supporters and friends, cleaning my house, preparing gourment pinterest meals.  This helped, though, since my house and correspondence are last if you visit it is often messy and may take a few days for me to write you back. 

But, still.....my heart hurt.  I would hear news of a friend with advancing cancer or a friend deeply struggling through a divorce and betrayal.  And i hurt and was filled with sorrow.  And I felt so overwhelmed, even though right now my family has so many blessings.  I felt so burdened by our hurting friends and all there is to do each day.  I may seem close to it, but I am not having anxiety or overwhelmed...I just need to praise God. 

I am spending more time choosing to not just daily read my Bible- but relying on Him.  He knows we can get disappointed or feel burdened.  Sometimes I think in quiet times at our house if I look at other statuses or e-mails, I am encouraged.  And while sometimes I can be, other times I can get real discouraged.  So now rather than dwelling on what I see going on around the world (not that I won't sometimes), I am dwelling on God's character and the hope He brings us.  I was letting the pain and daily routine take away my joy and delight in Him.

"You are my God my stronghold,
Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?
Send forth your light and your truth,
let them guide me.
Let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight,
 
Why are you so downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him."
-Ps 2-3; Ps 42:5

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Friend Sunday

 
This past Sunday was "Friendship Day" at one of the local churches at Glen Christian Church.  This church is led by a past graduate, Bro. Quinton.

 
We have had friends from college (Michael and Megan Brown and their 2 boys) visiting and teaching these last 2 weeks.  Their kids are the same ages as ours.  So, it has been lots of fun kid time here.

 
Here is Bro. Quinton bringing the message. 
 
Our preschool recently took a field trip to the bakery. Our pics did not turn out, so to see some great ones visit our friends/coworkers blog (it is a great one) at kellersinthecaribbean.blogspot.com.  We are now at 10 boys and 2 girls enrolled for the first year of preschool.  We are enjoying getting to teach these young ones.  But, also connecting with their families in the community too.