"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!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I cried

     I can tend to be an emotional person.  I sob at movies, even the happy endings.  Every graduation, whether I know the graduates or not, makes me cry too.  But, our crazy mission field life has made me immune to crying over good-byes.

     We have said good-bye to so many.  Leaving family and friends each furlough.  Leaving dear teammates in Haiti.  Short-term staff, groups we connect with, students after they graduate.  They all eventually leave.

      So even though I love people, I can't ever make myself tear up, it just seems natural to say, "Hope to see you again one day."  And give them a smile on their way.  So, often times when people are saying goodbye I try hiding or being busy elsewhere and I try never to go to the airport.  I don't know why, just it's such a usual occurrence and I don't want others to think I don't care, I just don't get emotional since it happens so much.

     I did cry today over a good-bye.  My parents got to be here for Christmas and it meant so much as being in a new place, I was more homesick than usual.  I have also been having several pregnancy problems that have required me to rest more.  So, having my mom cook, clean, and entertain the kids for the week was so nice.  So, when she hugged me good-bye and whispered, "Please take care of yourself so the baby is okay."  I did cry.  We want this baby so much and starting a school while doing daily necessities and having my mom here to help in this time was really special.

     We hope you all have been able to enjoy wonderful time with family this Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas from us!

     Someone we know here was talking about how for Christmas they wish they could afford a tree for their family to decorate in their home.  I immediately thought.....not just a tree you need, but a special Christmas dinner, a few gifts for your family, and some stockings.  How can I pull this together in 2 days?

     And then he cut me off and said, "But we don't need a tree because we got the biggest gift already...God's love in His son Jesus."

     No matter what you are going through or missing, we are praying that you are filled with God's love in knowing His son this season and all the time!

     We'll head to Christmas Morning service at 6 a.m. as is tradition here and then read the Christmas story together and enjoy ham as a family.  We're especially thankful to have extra family this year when homesickness sets in since my parents were able to come for the week and our friend Andrew is here with us through the season.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Special Times - Special People

We have lots of groups come, but not many bring their children with them.  So it was such a treat for our friends from CO to bring their whole family.  Our kids loved the time with them and we were thankful to have friends here!


We did our 1st Kids Klub at WISE with a "Birthday Party" for Jesus celebration!  Thankful for Villa Heights coming to partner with us in all the work here.  Their leader Justin was Brice's roommate in college and he and his wife have faithfully supported us for the last 9 years, so was great to have them both come share here!


A local church, Ruby Christian Church, came out to have a workday at WISE to clean and ready the dorms for the new students.  How encouraging to have their partnership!


We went to the prison (yes, even our kids) and put on a program for the prisoners.  We were thinking caroling outside of the cells.  But, they had us in an auditorium and do a 45 min program for the prisoners.  At the end Brice spoke a few words and said, "God sent to his son to a dangerous world.  I have 2 sons.  I would never put them in a dangerous place.  And yet God did, because He loved us so much!"  We all had a good laugh as not sure you could get much more of a dangerous place than a prison for your kids:)


Villa Heights sanded and varnished beautiful chairs for the classrooms.  So our student Sis Anne came and sat for us.  We are ready to have our students back and praying as they are making preparations to come!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Irony

    We are now praying and searching again for a school cook.  We are hoping to have one that is right by the property, so she can be here at the crazy hours of the students.  But until we have that happen, I am going to fill in with the cooking:)  I love cooking, thought I may not be the best at it :)

     But, the crazy thing is I made made it through the first trimester of pregnancy with minimal morning sickness.  Now that I am in 2nd trimester any smell of food makes me lose the food in my stomach.  I am hoping this is just a phase...so the idea of being the cook as this goes on will surely be only through the Lord's strength, as so many things seems to be on the missions field.

Friday, December 4, 2015

New Baby Coming Here....

Love our adventurous life....We started marriage and Naiyah's life in CO in the US, then moved to Haiti where Beck spent his first few years, then we joined with WISE and Pax was born and we started in St. Vincent, and now as the school moved our new little one will call Barbados home!



Sunday, November 22, 2015

Foreign Activities

     Even though we live overseas, I still want our children to have friends, be involved in different activities, and even do some of the same things we did as kids.  One of those I did was 4-H.  Yes, I am a country girl from Kansas.  But, I learned so much from cake decorating, public speaking classes, cooking, and sewing.

     So while at the store the other day, I saw some ladies next to a 4-H sign here in Barbados!  They asked if I had kids and would I like them to join.  We live way out in the country here....takes 20 min to get to nearest store and about an hour anywhere else.  So, hearing that the club meets a few minutes away...I was excited.

     I went to our first meeting, clearly remembering my club growing up- very organized, structured, lots of activities and kids. We got to the meeting at 4, and no one was there for the start time.  After a bit one family showed up, a 15 year old girl, and 2 grandma's.  The grandma's had been in it since they were young and apparently still were a part.  I asked the teen girl what she liked about 4-H and she said, "What's 4-H?"

    At 4:30 a lady came to lead the meeting and proceeded to take another 20 minutes to set up.  Then, she said the club needed officers, named a director, and ME as assistant!  In the next breath she was saying something about me leading the sheep, rabbits, jams and jellies class.  Looking at the time I realized I had to pick the boys up, so I quickly left.  Who knows what else I was signed up for after I was gone.  Sometimes I forget I'm not in Kansas anymore....

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Renewed Hope


This is the time we thought we'd be holding our newest baby.  It's a time we are so thankful God has helped bring WISE along and the busyness of getting the school ready to re-open in January has helped us not dwell on the time as much as we had thought we would dread this month.  

But it's still in our minds no matter how much we work on other things.  Several friends have had their babies we were due along with and makes me wish even more we could be there snuggling their babies just to hold a sweet newborn.  

And then just today our teammates and dear friends gave us their beloved recliner they have treasured  for over 30 years.  Getting new things is hard here and very expensive....so this was such a special gift.  Even more so as I had hoped to have one here for a new baby to rock in. 

 So, today I got to just sit and rock in it and treasure in my heart all the things that I have of our little one in heaven.  The sweet ultrasound pic, the doctor's notes, and the song my friend gave me which I will quote below.  It's not much we have, but this unborn was so loved. 

 And while we hope we can fill this chair with another rocking baby, until then God gave me such a renewed hope today.  As I rocked my 4 year old came and snuggled and just wanted to rock and my 9 year old just wanted to be read to in this sweet chair.  I am thankful God has given us this day together.  



This song brought so much peace to me:

1
Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
2
Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow’r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.
3
Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till with Christ the Lord I stand.

by A.L. Skoog

I do hope and pray whatever you are going through, you can have God's hope too!



Saturday, September 26, 2015

Help Needed!

We are still looking for a few more groups to join the help in opening the new WISE campus.  Or if you would like to sponsor some of the work, such as a new roof, flooring in a staff home, or painting the classrooms....we would love the help!  

Contact us on the WISE Facebook page or at wisemissions@gmail.com for more info!  






Foreign Moving

     Moving anytime is trying and crazy. Moving from one country to another country is beyond even comprehension.  I'll try to put into words our last month.  But to do it justice, you'll just have to come visit and see!  So much happened that I did not even probably get it in the correct order of happenings.

  1.      We arrived and lived in the dorms for 3 weeks with our family sharing 2 fans in what the locals are saying the hottest heat wave in 14 years.  Lucky us!
  2.  Internet we were told would take 2 weeks to a month to install.  We are still waiting after the one month mark:)  Thankfully we got local cell phones that gave us free 30 days of e-mail.  
  3. The electric was pretty bad here and ancient, so we had our first group arrive and there were 3 electricians with the group!
  4. Beckett got impetigo.  Thankfully it is very contagious and our teammate Doctor had brought the medicine and none of the rest of us caught it!
  5. The past owner had left a fridge....it did last us 2 days!  And then it died.
  6. The containers of stuff took 3 weeks to process since the workers were on a government strike. Once we did get them, our furniture and bedding was all moldy because of being packed away in the humidity for 4 months.  Thankfully there are so many clotheslines all over and the sun dries them in an hour!
  7. The water has been going out once a week for about 4-6 hours.  You would think we would figure this out and store some.....but even with a group of 19 here currently yesterday we were caught with empty jugs.  
  8. For 3 weeks we could not get the school truck out of customs and had no vehicle and so we had a fast learning curve of learning the buses.  We are in the far country.  So, it is about a mile walk through hot cane fields to the reliable bus stop.  If you catch it right they go every hour.  Then, about an hour into the nearest place for groceries.  So it pretty much takes up half a day to get your food.  Thankfully the previous owners left their old van and thanks to a friend it started running. So this last week we have 2 running vehicles now!   
  9. Millipedes, centipedes, monkeys, and mongoose are all over the place here.  We wondered which was getting into the pantry each night and realized it was just the local cat.
  10. The farmer next to us has cattle, so twice they have been found hurt in the grass.  Who doesn't love free beef:)
  11. We got our licenses.  The challenging part for me was not driving on the other side of the road, it was learning to drive a stick shift on the opposite side!
  12. We have been visiting the local churches in our brotherhood.  On Saturday night one of the preachers asked Brice to preach the next day.  I was a bit worried that 12 hours notice to preach would not be enough time for Brice to bathe it in prayer and prepare a sermon, but God used the message to have several come forward for prayer and decisions.  
  13. We put a tile floor into our home and one of the men who was coming had to cancel. So, Dave and Brice did the tiling and Pam and I learned how to grout.  So if you need tile work now, we could be willing.

These are a few stories of life the last few weeks.  Every step of the way God has seen us through and provided and we are so thankful!  
   

We are finally moved in and had our first family dinner together!  P.S. The previous owners left their piano....what a fun surprise!









Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Perfect Family

     Sometimes we just have to laugh when things get crazy.  Here are a few crazy moments that we can now laugh at from this summer:

     We were running late to a church...Brice was supposed to be preaching and we were about 10 minutes late.  Though we live in the Caribbean on island time, we still always try to be on time.  So my planning side was sweating and I was frustrated at my husband over our lateness.  Usually we start off with a prayer in the car for the morning, not this morning we were arguing.  After the hour drive, Brice rushes out into the church and as I get the kids one of our boys started fussing saying he was tired of churches and throws a fit he doesn't want to go to church.  I knee his backside and say, "You love church and you are going!"  All this in the parking lot.  As we sneak into the front....we hear the pastor saying as he introduced our family, "If you've only spent a few minutes around this people you will see how genuine and loving and perfect they are."  Ha!  The people who saw us in the parking lot know the truth:)

     Driving to another church in KY we had not had time for breakfast or to stop, so I found a bag of fruit snacks and an orange for our youngest and tossed them at him in the back of the van.  Right as we pull up to into the church parking lot, Paxson threw up all over the borrowed car and blankets.  Because of the drive to the next church that night.....we were thankful we had windows that rolled down until we were able to clean the car!

  At one church we could not find our youngest after church was over.  Most everyone had left by then.  After some searching under the pews, we found him drinking all the juice left in the bottoms of people's used cups.

   Our kids often get asked questions as missionaries.  They always thought every church was so big...we are used to a one room open air church.  And they struggled when people asked where they were from.....they would say St. Vincent (where we were) or Barbados (where we are going).  We laughed when our middle son insisted one Sunday School class that they told him he was from Missionary instead of Barbados or St. Vincent.

   We're thankful for laughter and fun times and ready for more adventure! And we are so thankful for grace!

"That is why you are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and members of God's household" Eph 2:19-22.  Thankful for being apart of the body of Christ!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Only 2 days left here

     We do have a unique life.  While waiting for the closing of the new property for the school, we were in the states for our longest furlough of 3 months.  This meant 3 months of basically living out of our uncle's car.  On the passenger side we had our office- documents, cards, applications to mail students, etc.  Unless we happened to be at our parent's homes for a few nights in a row we lived out of our suitcases in visiting church friends homes.  So, while we love the United States and all it offers and love seeing dear friends and family and meeting new ones - we are so thrilled to be able to be in our home.

     We are not sure what to expect when we arrive in a few days.  It may take a few days to get electricity and water going.  OR it could take a week or more!  It will take awhile to get our stuff via boat.  We do not have transportation and live in the country.  So, we'd ask your prayers for our excitement to be home there to continue and for us all to be patient as we get settled in. And if you don't hear from us....be patient may be awhile for internet.

     This move we have seen God growing WISE as applications come in for new students and we are so grateful to the groups coming to help ready the campus this fall.  With growth and a move, we have found their to be additional costs and would appreciate your prayers for the following

- additional monthly support
- new students getting their visas to come
-our residencies
-the schools accreditation process
-the building to sell in St. Vincent

     If you are interested in more information or would like to help partner with us, please contact us at wise missions@gmail.com.  We would be happy to send you a prayer calendar, prayer picture cards, brochures, etc.

     Support is sent to
     WISE
     PO Box 8098
     Columbia, MO 65205


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Growing and Moving

     So much to share and we have been on the road lots without Internet.  While we waited for the move in date (August 24th), God has done so many neat things!  Some have been teaching us to wait on His will and timing.  If you do not get our newsletter and want to see pictures and more on the latest move, please message us with your information!

      Some amazing things that have happened lately with the mission:

- One new church and 2 new supporters have committed to monthly giving as the school grows.  We are still praying for more, but so thankful for these!

- With our time waiting on the closing, our time in the states was longer than a month, so we got extra time with family and kids being in American summer sports.

-Andy Nichols, from OCC, is joining us for the spring semester to teach at WISE.

- Sweet Jenny, the owner of the WISE Center, in Barbados hosted Brice and Co. and they got to inspect the property WISE is buying to grow.

- We had a great pastor's meeting with local pastors in Barbados to help teach in the college there!

- So many have told us of their excitement and prayers for the move!

- Neighbors and Brice and Dave were able to get the shipping containers packed and sent off on the boat in 2 days in SVG!

- A supporting church paid for all the shipping containers!

- We started a new fundraising campaign for the new property and so many dear supporters have helped us almost reach $8,000 of the $10,000 matching grant that was given.

- New friends and pastors helped get inspections going for the school to soon open in Barbados.

- Applications have started coming in for new students in the new property of 6 acre college!

- Several groups have committed to coming to help ready to campus for the new start!

- Our van and gas travel was donated by family this summer.

- Dear partners and board members sent us on a special family time trip this past week to be together as our family and to have fun together.

- We have traveled over 10,000 miles seeing so many dear friends and churches, we are so blessed to have so many great partners!

-Two more weeks and we move into the new school......nothing beats having a dresser than a suitcase!


So so humbled and grateful for all God is doing and that we get to be a part of it!  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Time


Here's what our summer looks like.....our very special board members above ( this group provides so much encouragement and support).  We are so blessed to have them helping make decisions for WISE.  We are missing a few here, but so thankful for all of them.  


Unloading luggage...every few days we are in a new place.  The kids usually wake up and say, "What church are we visiting today?"  :)


Our Uncle and Aunt loaned us their van to use as we drive around the country.  So nice!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Graduations and Packing




We had 2 beautiful last graduations on the island of St. Vincent.  Our preschoolers were so precious and shared their favorite songs, verses, and received their diplomas.


We are always so excited for the graduates and how they go out to their home countries and begin their own ministries!  But, we also miss the sweet friendships with them being so close.


The guys with Brice.


Special visitors and teachers with the graduates.


Our 1st years received a certificate and will be back to study at the reopening of the school in January.



We also celebrated great- grandma's 83rd birthday!  The first time we were every with her on her birthday.  She celebrated her first graduation here and the last was here with us too.


Brice's mom very graciously came and got to see Pax at prek graduation and she helped us pack.  She literally worked 6am-11pm packing and shrink wrapping.  We could not have done it without her!


And admidst the packing, we said special good-byes to beloved friends.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

     Brice always make me something special in the kitchen and writes me the sweetest note and my kids will decorate cards - I love, love those.  But, I also received 2 other very special gifts this Mother's Day.

    One was a sweet poem from my sister about one of our babies being in heaven this Mother's Day.  It meant so much as I was thinking and missing our 4th.

     The other special gift was Alicia's birth mom (the girl we wanted to adopt and it fell through) contacting me.  We have not been allowed to see Alicia after they took her from the house.  So, it meant so much hearing about her and from her mom.  Both Alicia and our baby meant so much to us and was so special on Mother's Day for them to be a part of my Mother's Day.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Catch- Up Family Visit

Family visiting is so very special.  This was from back in March and realized I have been horrible about updating.  My 84 year old grandmother, sister, brother-in-law, and niece all came to visit!


The kids loved cousin time so much!


My grandma is so adventurous, she even wanted to climb the volcano.  But settled for a visit to the waterfall.


We sure are thankful they came and loved the time together.



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Packing Hilarity

     So here's a funny picture for your mind.  Picture a whole school full of books, a huge kitchen, office supplies with a surplus of 30 years of memories, student dorms, a preschool, and our family home.  And then picture all of this needing to be packed and shipped in a container to another island.....and it's Brice, me, our 3 young kids (who make it more messy than imagined), and grandma packing it up!   Several of our local staff have already left and been employed elsewhere since they have found other jobs.  And our other American staff family had a family vacation planned elsewhere this week.  So, this is our work crew.  We've been starting our days at 7 and going until 10 or 11 and somehow it's getting done.

     We had originally had a team coming to help.  And then timing of responses from sellers just was off.  Then, several of our board members came together and after visiting with us and seeing us personally, said......."You guys need a rest.  You are working overtime everyday, dealing with baby loss, waiting on international move, and we think you need to take a few months off for complete rest and restoration."  We have never done this.  Even when back for a month in the summers we are always working full-time headed to churches and visiting supporters and sharing about WISE.  So, we prayed with them and decided to go ahead and pack now and in this time of waiting for the properties to sell we would head back to the States.  While we can't just take a full several months off, we have promised to take a week of family vacation time to rest.  So, we are busy getting all of it packed up and then will possibly be sharing with our wonderful supporters all that God is doing here soon.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Our Praise Baby

Man, it seems like such a journey....and only been several months.  Well, 8 months ago we started praying and trying for another baby when the adoption of the girls fell through.  I finally got pregnant and we were all so thrilled!  There were 3 months of morning sickness, which they all say is a great sign for a healthy baby. 

Here there are only 2 working ultrasound machines on the island and it can take 1-3 months to get an appointment for them.  I had made my appointment with an OBGYN this past week after Easter.  We went in so excited to see our baby and PRAISE we did get to see a beautiful perfect baby with hands and feet, but no heart beat.  Our doctor was amazing, prayed with us for a miracle and even got us in that day at the other ultrasound to check again.  Both had the same answer.

Here lately several have passed on at the hospital inaccurate amounts of anesthesia, and we just did not want to take that chance with my health, so we prayed the baby could pass naturally and I not have to be hospitalized for a few days as the doctor wanted.  Four days later, at our home....our baby passed on.  We were able to see the sweet baby with hands wrapped around his stomach and grieve.  We felt so grateful to God for allowing him to pass and us to be able to see him.  We also were so very thankful for friends who called and cared so much.  And we were so grateful to have fellow missionary partners who kept our other kids shielded and safe, cooked us many a meal, prayed with and for us. And huge PRAISE that as a doctor Dave could look at baby and placenta and make sure all had come and help us know what to expect and what we were seeing.  

We miss and long for our PRAISE baby, but so thankful each day God guides us and we have HIS comfort.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter - New Life

Chrisandra has been my friend for forever it seems like.  One of my favorite parts of the week was always walking to her neighborhood (she lives in the governmental housing down by the airport), chatting with her, catching up, learning about her life, and praying with her.  


So many would wonder how the girl does it.....17 now with 2 small boys.  3 neighbor kids orphaned by AIDS that are often living with her.  A 10 by 10 foot home.  Having a mother who was always drunk and still trying to keep others safe from her abuse.  And yet....never has she complained.  And she is always smiling.


When at first she wanted to start taking classes to learn about becoming a Christian, after a month of study she said leaving the night life of partying was too hard.  Living with her boyfriend and the life she was living didn't line up with what God talked about.  So, she said it was too much.  Then, after much prayer and crying hard......she came to Brice and said......"I'm ready to live for Christ!"  


Love this sister!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Local hair

Our neighbors wanted Naiyah's hair to match their daughters.....so they braided her hair for her.  


After a week, we took it out.......it took 45 minutes with both of us untwisting to get this masterpiece!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Opening our home - in a different way

We always pictured we'd open our home to adopt a child.  Since that failed twice, we've seen God working in a different way.  3 years ago we got to have our nephew live with us until his adoption was finalized.  This month his birth mom came to live with us.  She was delivering another baby and needed a temporary home until the baby came.  


The only thing we asked from her was to be a part of our family - eat meals with us, have devotions with us, and go to church with us.


Baby boy came healthy and mom went back to her hometown.  We're praying for her as she tells us she is now attending church regularly!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Always in our prayers

Zaronique came into our lives 2 years ago and changed us so much.  She opened our eyes to adoption, to moms who loved their kids but couldn't and wouldn't leave their addictions, and to praying for someone daily even when you may never see them again.  We thought ZoZo and her sister could be adopted by us and as time went by and we realized they would remain in permanent foster care.  So her name sign from preschool hangs on our wall to pray for her as she grows each day for God to protect her from evil, to comfort her and show her love, and to grow her to love Him.  We haven't forgotten her and continue to pray for her.


And from our love for Zaronique we began praying for a girl to come so we could adopt.  We honestly thought it would have to be a knock on the door like Zaronique to know if she was for our family since we see lots of need here and children who need families.  


Alicia was that knock.  Her mom told us she did not want her and we could have her.  She asked if we could protect her from the birth father and his addictions.  Without following any rules of having her signed over to us legally, we brought her into our home.  In 48 hours she was calling us mom and dad and asking why her picture was not on the baby picture wall with our other kids.


She got to start school for the first time.  She brushed her teeth for the first time.  And she got her first bath, which she first threw her clothes in to wash them as she was used to doing her own laundry.


And then her mom called as the father wanted her.  She would not sign the papers.  We prayed that even if Alicia can't be adopted that she could live with us and learn about God and go to school and grow while we are here.  But we knew legally we had to take her back.  Brice carried her screaming up the stairs and her throwing up as he handed her back, but all we could do was cry and pray too.  Then, her father took her away.  


We miss this smile.  We love this girl and Zaronique and we promise to never stop praying for them.  


Naiyah drew this as she asks each day if her sister is coming back.  I'm thankful our kids got to know these sweet girls and pray that God continues to grow them as His girls whoever they are with.