"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!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Becky's Here

The MU campus director approached us with the idea of sending his women's ministry director here to us at WISE for a semester of partnership.  We had come to know Becky (pictured below in blue dress) through mission trips at WISE.  We knew she was sweet, funny, an extremely hard worker, and a great leader.  We had no clue how something like this would work here, though.

Becky arrived a few days ago and we are so thrilled.  She will mentor our girl students, work on a huge reconnect with our alumni project, teach English classes and study skills, and just be an encourager all over.  We already have been so blessed to have her fill in this semester.

Yesterday we went downtown with Becky while she got her driver's license- see already she is a huge go getter here!  I am a bad driver anyways, but driving on the opposite side of the road with no lights and just honking is terrifying!  

Becky went to the internal revenue service with Brice to get her license.  I went with the kids to the grocery.  Then, I realized I did not have any money on me, so Brice left Becky across town while he came to give me money.  When, we went back to get her- no Becky. 

 I went inside and saw no whities.  I asked the security officer at the front and he said the white lady had left.  Hmmm.  I walked back to the store and asked them if they had seen a lady with Becky's description and their reply was, "The only white lady in here today has been a lady with several kids."

 Well, that was me earlier.  Still no Becky.  Walked back again across town asking at the driver's office for Becky.  Still no Becky.  Hmmm.  I was not worried about kidnapping, just wondering how I was missing one of the few white skins around as I walked the streets.  After awhile, here comes Becky from upstairs since there had been a computer problem below.  I was pretty relieved after only being here a few days, we still had Becky!  And I am so excited to see have her here to work alongside us and learn from her!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A typical Sunday for now

We have Sunday school taught by our students, then we go to Church.  I was on for teaching Kids Church this week.  It is fun and sometimes crazy to think we usually have 20 kids in a small space with ranging from age 1-13.  Whew.  

Craft time making our arks.

We got donated oreos - what a snack!

Colin brought 4 boy friends to church, we were so excited!

Sunday afternoons Bro Ribinson, one of our students, coaches soccer to the kids.  What an outreach as several of our kids are from Syria.  They are becoming friends and Bro. Ribinson loves sharing Bible stories while coaching.

We love, Coach Ribinson!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Attack of the surprise - and a Centipede!

Here she is....Sister Angie.  I can't even describer her well.  Her whole life is about serving truly.  I have never seen anything go on, even if a party is for her, and her not be in the back cleaning, preparing, and washing the dishes.  Here heart is amazing.  We tell our students and try to model what service is....and when I was thinking about this, they have an incredible model watching her each day.

So, it was her birthday and last year she disappeared the whole day, so we could not celebrate.  This year we tried to send her on a trip, but she refused.  So...after church was over we all had it arranged to end early and surprise her with her favorite Brownies.  2 days early, so she could not disappear.    Look at this face!  As we were singing, she kept insisting it was not the right day for her birthday.  Ha Ha! 

The only bad part was the huge centipede that landed on her foot earlier in the day and stung her.  She finally broke down and went to the doctor, since her foot was so swelled and she had a reaction to it.  Thankfully, she is doing better.  This is not the real centipede pictured, but it looked exactly like this one, maybe bigger, though!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Girls Getting Older

As we journey through the New Testament in Kids Club pictured above are our 3 oldest girls.  It has been on our heart to take the older ones deeper.  Would you join in praying for our older kids here.  For 10 and older kids we are planning on starting a class in September each week to discuss baptism, growing in their faith, and service.  

I love seeing our kids learn all Jesus taught us.  The little ones and big ones loved making boats on the water to remind us Jesus' special helpers He chose were ordinary fisherman out making a living.  Just as He chose us to be His special helpers now.  But, we do ask for you to pray for our bigger students.  With not as many activites here, it can be easy to get caught up in sad situations and we want our kids to make wise decisions based on the Lord.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Our Beautiful Home

We took a family morning to pray and fast for the upcoming school year.  We went to the beautiful Vermont Nature Trails.   Wow, it was gorgeous.

Beautiful flowers, goats, and donkeys abounded at the beginning.

Fun bridges to cross.

God's Handiwork.

Starting off well with all of us eager and walking.

Humongous trees.

Two miles later we were getting tired.

Pax was still going.

And daddy ended up carrying him by the end.

Thankful for the morning to be together, refocus, and be guided.

Friday, August 16, 2013

This Week Here

This week we are busy getting ready for our new students, staff, and coping.  We have discovered some termite trouble at our house and at the school.  

And Naiyah caught red eye (pink eye) here.  It has been a great lesson on washing our hands.  Her eyes were itching and hurting and I told her she needs to always make sure to wash her hands, as that is one of the main causes of getting it.  At least ten times a day I hear Beckett telling Naiyah, "Did you wash your hands so you don't get that bad eye thing again?"  We had just bought a new thing of handsoap and the next day after we got it, I overheard Brice telling the kids they need to go easy on the soap. It was nearly empty after one day!  And soap is expensive.  I was secretly glad they were being overly zealous about washing their hands, though:)  So, hopefully red eye is gone from this house, at least for a bit.

I opted only to share fun photos of the week rather than red eye ones:)

Sweet neighbor baby Emma turned one!

They really know how to throw parties here - it was a 5 course meal and they just kept letting everyone come from all around.  So fun and sweet to celebrate Emma!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Why is giving so hard?

Giving can be a really hard thing to teach and do. It's hard to know how much to give without enabling someone.  Yet, we're called to give.

Here in St. Vincent people are always so sweet.  Often they'll give our kids things they sell at the various vendors.  An extra mango for the baby.  A homemade necklace for a good big sister.  Our kids get a lot.

Yet, I want our kids to be givers!  So how do I teach them to give when they are given so much?

One local friend named Speedy gives a different handmade necklace to our kids every time he seems them.  Each time he has made a necklace even more specially suited for them the better he has gotten to my kids.

This trip, however, was Naiyah's most favorite necklace she had ever received.  Naiyah and I have been talking about always giving our best to God and sharing with others.  So, after Speedy gave it to her I whispered to Naiyah about what did she want to do with her necklace?  She had a friend visiting with her and her friend really wanted a necklace.  I did not want to make Naiyah  give her necklace to her friend.  I wanted her to share it on her own. She replied she wanted to give her friend a necklace she already had at home that she thought her friend would like better.  Secretly, I was sad but did not say anything this time.  I saw her when we get home go and get one of her older necklaces and give it the friend.  But, inside I was wishing she had given away her favorite.

Later that night her friend lost the necklace given to her, so Naiyah asked if she could give her friend the beloved favorite necklace.  I was thrilled.  I want her to be giving and loving and sharing her best.

The next day she asked if she could give her beloved Rapunzel doll that grandma had given her for her birthday to her friend.  Was I thrilled again that Naiyah was catching onto how much better it is to give than to receive?

I have to model it for them.  And I am not the best at this either.  My response, "Grandma saved up special for that doll for you, because you love Rapunzel.  You don't have to give her your doll, remember you gave her your necklace."

Her friend left and I realized how I had again failed.  I want my daughter to give generously of herself and her things.  I don't want her to see my selfish side and pattern that.  I don't want her to give just once or just a little.  I want her to give her love, her time, and to see the things she has are blessings to give to others.

"A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."

God, please help me as a mom and as your daughter share you and all you have given us unselfishly.  And I pray for your help in teaching this to my kids you are letting me teach.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  Gal 6:7-9

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Family Fun

Brice's sister and brother-in-law gave us their vacation time and decided to visit us 2 weeks ago!  So, here they are.  We feel bad as they have been serving all day long and helping out.  So we all tagged along on the group fun day.

The Long family came from Texas.  This was a rare treat as not many people bring their kids and they brought theirs (3 kids 3 and under:)  Our kids really enjoyed playing with theirs.

Special cousin time at the waterfalls

Turtles at the pirate beach are so fun to pet.

One of the murals painted by Tierra, Ribinson, and Jamie at the preschool bathroom.   If you could have seen it before this area for the preschool was just an overhang and garage, so it is really special to see it transformed.

Our new shape tree by Mrs. Donna.

Special friends sent some money in honor of their sweet grandson and our son's close friend that went to heaven when he was only 2.  So with their help and my mother-in-law donating paint, and the group, Tierra, and one of our students painting they it is beautiful!

Here is a friend from Ozark College days, Westin Williams, teaching the students as an adjunct teacher for 2 weeks.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Longview Visit

It is not often you get a church to come on board that you don't really know or grow up in.  Longview let Brice come and share, sent special friends the Reed's to see the work here, started supporting monthly, continually pray for us, and now brought a team all in the last year.  They have been a huge blessing.  Here are some pics of all they are doing this week and we still have several more days left with them!

Walking around passing around the word about the church, prek, and Bible College.

Visiting the waterfall by our house.

Helping and passing out t-shirts to kids at Kids Club.  Loving on our Bible College students and staff.

Painting amazing murals!

And a special surprise has been Brice's sister (above), brother-in-law, and baby all got to come and visit this week too!

Building and putting on the new added part at WISE.

I can't even list all the things this group has done.  From 6:30am-late at night they help out in so many ways.  Tiling, roofing, painting, sorting, cutting, the list is endless all they have done.  Thanks so much, Longview church family!