"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!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Time at WISE

Christmas time anywhere is so very special because Jesus came to us.  And because some of our students are far from home and Holidays are hard without family, we always try to make Christmas so meaningful and special.  

For our kids it is a time of singing Happy Birthday to Jesus!


This year our Syrian friends asked us over for Christmas Eve.  They said it was just fingerfoods, so we all ate before.  And well, fingerfoods to them means you use your fingers, not just appetizers.  So, we were so full that night!  And we all had a good laugh over the mix-up!


Our kids together have a blast!


That night there was such stormy weather that ten people lost their lives on the island from landslides.  Many lost their homes.  Please be praying for these hurting families.  This view of us driving home felt like we were back in snow with all the mud and rain.


Christmas Morning we went to church and the kids sang a special.  Then, later in the afternoon we all had a big meal together giving the students a break from the Kitchen that day.  We played games.


Praised God with candlelight.


Felt like we were with family.


And exchanged homemade gifts with one another.


Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

One Crazy Weekend

Our neighbor's son got married this weekend.  Everyone knows them, so we figured it would be a huge wedding.  Counting our family and the bridal party i think there were 20 people.  But it sure was beautiful.  


Sweet friends and past student.


Lots of love. Pray for their lifelong commitment to the Lord and one another.


Ms. Marshall (preschool assistant) and her boyfriend Elvis were the wedding attendants!


Then, we went caroling with the students.  They passed out verses, invitations to church, and candy mints.


The students wouldn't let us miss any houses along the way.  They even made a sign for us to carry.


And the last event of the weekend was a fun party for all the kids in our local community.  Where we live just up the hill is considered one of the poorer areas, so each year "Toys for Tots" hosts a party for all the kids and passes out gifts.  They kids all put on a show for us.  

We got invited, and I have to say the past thoughts of college days before living on the mission field filled my head.  I recall putting gifts in the bins at Wal-mart for toys for tots.  But, I never thought one day my kids would be receiving one of them.  I felt like our kids have so much already and tried to decline, but our area kids insisted we come to see them perform. It was a new experience, and since it went past the 3 hour time allotment and was time for us to head to night church, we left before gifts could be passed out.  It was perfect timing that my kids weren't taking other's toys and also not having to feel left out.


A Night in Bethlehem

To see the program the students performed to the community several times please go to:

http://youtu.be/-MteweI_JIE

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas in NOT...

Palm trees, 80 degree weather, and friends from other countries have become the norm for us for the last 7 Christmas seasons.  


And no matter where we live and celebrate I am reminded what Christmas is not.  It is not about where we perform our Christmas Story, instead it is to who and why we tell it so others can share in this so very special gift.


Christmas is not about how many cookies we make and how beautiful they look, but the love put into them and the love giving them.  Thank you, Lord, for the fun we had in making them even though we burned the first batch!  And thank you for frosting making everything taste better.


Christmas is not focusing on what is gone, but cherishing what we were given.  So thankful for this sweet momma who gave her son for my sister and brother-in-law to raise for her.  And so thankful that she cherishes that sweet boy still.  Amidst her pain of not having him daily, she gave up her son to see him loved and provided for each day.


Christmas is not about the gifts, but the generosity and hearts of those who want to change the world.  The excitement on these kids faces as they saw a Bible of their own and their own flashlight was a blessing to give since so many handmade these special boxes.


Christmas is not how many people attend and come.  It is Christ's story and He works it out.  


Christmas is not what is inside the wrapped gift, but the fellowship we had putting together needed items for families surrounding us.  While we debated what others would like best in the food bags, God knew what was needed.


Christmas is not about the making of trees or putting them up, but the joy of learning and making special things for others together.  One of our sweet preschoolers is a Jehovah's Witness and this year her family let her spend Christmas with us.  How special to tell her what Christmas is and why we celebrate.


Christmas is not about the perfect dress or outfit for the day.  Sometimes our best outfit can clothe the most beautiful creation!


Christmas is not  the beauty of the costumes, sets, and homes.  But the love poured into them and the sacrifice.  Our students and staff sacrificed so much time to make "A Night in Bethlehem" real to others.  With humility in humble settings.


Christmas is giving.  We learn here often that a hug, time spent with someone, and the gift of hope is better than the best gift we can search for online, even though my brain wants to tell me Amazon shipping makes it easier.


While selfishness and busyness creeps in, and Santas and Elves overload us.  We open our Bibles and keep seeing...Immanuel, God is With us.  He sees all the need and the hurt.  


And so we

Love Others

and we 

Love the Lord.


Our neighbor came to church with us to hear of this great love we don't often show and that we still miss out on sometimes.  But, even as imperfect as we are God's story is still being told!


Thank you, Jesus, for more times to share your truth. May we do this everyday.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Getting Ready for Christmas

For fellowship the past week some watched the MU game streamed online.  And the rest of us made gingerbread houses.  Some got really creative and some just ate a lot.  


Please keep praying for the students.  They are busy taking finals this week as they prepare for the end of the semester.  


All around campus everyone is getting ready for the big Christmas play to tell the community about Christ coming to earth.  Our Kids club kids have lines, our preschoolers have songs, and our students all play parts.  This year we get the privilege of performing the play in 3 different areas of St. Vincent.  Would you pray for these opportunities?


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Upcoming Baby Blessings

My neighbor is having her baby soon.  She asked me about throwing her a shower from her church friends.  I still sometimes see myself as a newcomer, so when she asked me I felt a bit intimidated having not known her as long as others.  But, with the help of my sister spending special decorations we had such a lovely time.


Here is the guest of honor.  We did several fun games and everyone went around sharing what Curlene has meant to them.  She sure has helped a lot of people.  She has taught me a lot about giving as she runs her orphanage.