"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!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Things that made me tear up......

     Yes, I am highly emotional and cry at the drop of the hat with post-pregnancy hormones.  But, some very neat things this month made me tear up this month:

- Our 3 students from Dominica lost their homes and all their belongings from the hurricane last month.  And yet these boys give so much of their lives to love here.  They have carried on with strength only from God.  They continually think of their families struggling to find shelter and food back home and yet they live each day with such joy as they study to go back to love others to the Lord in 2 years.  One of the students has a young son my youngest son's age and he has patiently helped my son build bird traps to catch birds here, all the while I can see he is missing his son so much.  He recently said that he was so grateful to be at WISE and that while he may not go back to be a preacher one day, he will be a better father and able to lead His son to the Lord.

- Our students in our home Bible study shared their testimonies - they give up so much to come study from here.  Leaving jobs they won't have once they go back, family, familiar foods, and cultures.  And yet they write us letters and tell us constantly how thankful they are which makes us feel so blessed to be here.

- We recently went to an event with the students.  One of them declined to go.  Finding out later- he did not even have $1 and thought he would have to pay for the outing. We take so much for granted on spending a $1.

- Our littlest Greeley is getting dedicated this Sunday for baby dedication.  We picked 2 people to stand up with us as her prayer warrior and supporter.  One of our past students and now staff we have grown to love as an auntie is standing up with us.  Seeing her choke up and feel honored when we asked meant so much to see how well loved our kids are here.

- My kids love each other so much.  The 3 bigs help with the 2 littles, with chickens and dogs, with laundry, and with dishes. They love God and teach us so much.  We feel so blessed (and tired :) ) that God gave us all 5!

- My husband God gave me.  I recently celebrated my birthday - we always do simple gifts- letters to one another and a candy bar is tradition.  We started this in Haiti as it was all we could afford and now just cherish it.  My note this year on the envelope said - To my wife and mom of 7.  The fact that he acknowledged the 2 babies we lost to miscarriage ( 9 and 2 years ago) meant the world to me.  He loves me so well and helps in so many ways- the biggest right now doing the midnight bottle feed, so I can get some extra rest :)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

God Moment

    Groups coming means encouragement, so much work being done, a busy crazy time, and seeing old friends and making new ones.  This time week we had a really neat experience that we were able to see happen.  Often times we may hear from what others experience when they get back, but don't see the change firsthand.

    It can often seem when groups come that it is about work projects getting accomplished, and while that helps so much - it is much more than that.  This week because of a cancellation a brother came along with his family.  He had fallen away from the Lord and while here was immersed in life here.  He heard the students testimonies they shared one night.   Then, he
said he was having trouble finding a place to serve, so we mentioned the 2 bikes we had on campus were out of commission from so much student use (a chain was broke and a wheel had come off).  He fixed those and then wanted to purchase 4 more for the students ( Keep in mind things are so expensive here and a bike can run about $350 US).  His brother told us this was very out of character for him to do.  And then at the end of the week he shared a testimony of wanting to recommit himself to the Lord at the end of the week from all he had experienced!  We love seeing God work and seeing his kingdom grow!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October Life

A few pics of what happened in October!

Kensington has kept getting ear infections - the doctor says she needs tubes, but can't do here.  So, we have been praying she has no more until we are back on furlough next year.  Pray she can sleep well- she has been up lots of nights from this.  But her joy and fun personality keep us smiling.

Brice and I moved into the living room - hence the mattress there :). With Kensington sleeping little this allowed all the kids to not be in the same room and wake up from her crying.  These sisters sure do love one another :)

Our teammates arrived!  They have 2 little ones also and we found a community doing Trunk of Treat here - so the kids got to make costumes and dress up!

We are surviving most days - but loving it too.  Here Brice is holding the babies while I try to get dinner cooked.  A real life moment right now...

We started back our tradition of a student a week coming over and eating with us and spending the evening.  We love asking them questions, praying for them, and playing with them.

We have lots of students living here now and a lot of them are very talented in worship.  We are enjoying hearing them lead worship.

So much rain here.  A blessing - have not been able to do as much laundry with the rains.  And another blessing - the kids got to boat around to places on campus :)

The days and nights seem full, but we are still taking time to enjoy family time and God's beautiful creations - like the cliffs near us.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A full, crazy life!

    So enjoying life right now.  It resembles this picture a little.  Very hot, so we are enjoying popsicles (Kensington's first)!  Baby Greeley sleeping away.....   Keeping our 1 year old busy and buckled so we can get schooling done.  But, to be home is so very great.

    Upon arrival we were told and stamped on our passports to get student visas or kids have to leave in 3 months.  The process seemed overwhelming- submit a letter to the department of education, be granted an interview there, then submit to immigration to see about approval.  All these require lots of driving from where we live, waiting, and juggling kids.  Thankfully we had a group here from Elizabethtown, KY and while I usually try to just do things ourselves- this time I asked them for help watching the kids so we could get all these meetings done this week.  And we did get them done and approved and it also felt like Brice and I got a few dates with the driving time and no kids along.  So we are good to go until we do the process over again next year :)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Student visas granted!

     I wish everyone could know our students personally and hear their stories.  We heard today immigration granted the student visas!!!   Daily staff was calling, praying, and checking on their status.  Yesterday we racked our brains....and remembered a friend had a friend at immigration.  She gave us some great advice in a certain letter to take.  Staff took it in and ....they are coming!

     Ebi here has waited over 2 years for classes to resume at WISE to finish his degree and he finally is coming back!  Thank you, Lord!!!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Waiting, waiting, waiting

     Still we wait on immigration to let the students come to start school.  We have pushed classes back, but praying this next week classes can start as we can only push back so much for this term.  We just submitted a request as all the paperwork was in the 1st of June for the students and new staff to receive visas.  We pray they see our diligence and will grant the visas anyday now.

     We are also praising God for our grads and students coming from Aintgua that they were spared from the hurricane and we are praying for our friends in Haiti and Florida now.

     For our family we are waiting on baby's documents.  Brice hopes to travel as soon as the storm passes in a few days and then the rest of us are hoping to travel back the week after.  Thanks for the prayers, keep praying!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Greeley Arrived Today!

     Well, our other babies came early, so we had thought Greeley would come by now and we would be on our way back to Barbados.  In fact, the last several weeks we did lots of walking and trying to find hills in Kansas to climb to get her to come.  We just miss home and our own place and cooking and life in Barbados, not that our parents are not so generous in sharing their homes with us.  We even thought about delivering in Barbados since baby was not going to be so early, but without insurance there did not see a way to afford a $10,000 birth there and figure our the dual citizenship, etc.  So,  after 4 trips to the hospital and being stuck at a 4 dilation for weeks with the doctor saying as soon as you feel anything come in as your labors go fast...the 4th time she did come!

     Each of the places we have lived we have a child named after, except for our time we cherished in CO.  So....this last baby got a Colorado name - Greeley Lechelle.  She was our biggest baby even being 3 weeks early!  Brice will head back to Barbados soon to start the semester off and I will follow as soon as birth certificate comes, social security card, and then her passport.  We have heard this can be done anywhere from a week to 4, so we are praying on the shorter side but know may not be the case.

     As we waited on baby, we have also been waiting on immigration in Barbados.  Even though staff work permits for fellow teammates and student visas were submitted months ago, they still have not processed them.  Frustrating for the students waiting and our new teammates to just wait.  We have pushed back our Sept start date and praying we hear any day now that they are processed and can all come in.  This wait and see what the Lord does in HIS timing certainly is faith stretching and seems to be how everything works in our lives now :)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Waiting on baby

     So we are back in the States now.  And so blessed with family basements and guest rooms to stay in, but sure longing for our own home.  We are really just waiting on this baby girl to join our family and head back!   We are still 8 weeks from delivering and while the other 3 have come a month early, 2 months is a lot early.  This past week our family all got some vomiting sickness, which caused me to go into labor.  Brice was away at camp and my sister went with me to the hospital.  Thankful for great care and medicine and baby staying put at least for now.

     Brice leaves to go back to Barbados in a few days and so praying baby will keep growing inside me, he can help get work done there with accreditation, visas, etc.  Also prayers as every week we are in the States we are sharing at a different church all over to maximize our time here and so prayers we make wise decisions with baby's health.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Crazy trip back to the States

     I can't ever say we have had a stress free travel day, can anyone?   Maybe because luggage, kids, and international travel are added in to ours?  But, Brice does say his worst days being married to me are travel days :)  But, hey- we have had a lot of those travel days in our marriage and he is still staying with me :)

     We had a totally different schedule this time.  Usually we get up at 3am for a drive, and early 6am departure.  This time we were on an afternoon flight getting it at midnight.  And then a 2 and half hour drive back to parents house.  We were thrilled to make it in one day and while getting in late, we would still make it in one day.

     A fellow teacher dropped us off and our bag we brought (full of medicines, etc) was in the trunk to have space to sit.   Naturally the bag was forgotten.  By the time, we realized it after check-in time we  kept calling him, his wife, his neighbors.  Thankfully someone reached him an hour later and he got the back to us in time, because our flight had been delayed.

     Because of the now 3 hour delay, we now had just 30 minutes in Miami to get off, walk their 10 mile long airport, go through customs, grab our luggage, recheck it, go back through security, and find out plane.  So we missed the connection.  We got in a super long line for a reconnection at 10pm and were informed all the hotels in the city were booked up (of course).  So the kids and I just kind of plopped down and laid down on the suitcases and a very kind worker said...let me see what I can do...and found us a room at the MIAMI Airport hotel for free and gave us $60 in food vouchers.  And by 11:30pm we had the kids( in the only bed left around) asleep, our bellies were full, and as Brice and I awoke early to leave at 3am, we realized we would have just been pulling in to his parents place and that the delay was such indeed a blessing!

     I'd love to hear your travel stories sometime!  We are sure thankful for quick travel nowadays, but do love when we are "home" for awhile and don't have to travel.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Resting in God's goodness

     So much good news with the mission - thought I should share with all.  So, one year ago at this time when we were back sharing with churches we were in a tough spot.  In fact, at one church we could not share all the god things happening at the missions meeting, because we felt so disheartened and just started crying.  We even talked to several mentors about moving back.  First time to ever think that way as we have always felt like not all want to go and for now we can and God was using us.  But last summer we felt defeated.  Immigration for us and for our students was blocking us, properties were not selling, we were struggling with not having a full teaching staff in place, etc.  And discouragement set in.

     Someone said.....there are seasons and I will pray for a season of rest and joy for you.  That season is here - thank you, Lord!  We have students who applied from 9 DIFFERENT Caribbean countries!  Several we have never had a student from!  We are thrilled, as our prayer has been for WISE to be a school reaching out to train leaders from all over the Caribbean and it is even more now.

     We also are excited for our teaching team.  Local teacher Andrew Best joins our staff as well as the Termeer family of 4 this Aug!  And then we have other teammates joining a few months later.

     We also received and discovered how to get staff permits here and also we have discovered how to get students here.  We would ask your prayers, though as student visas are quite a process and praying they can all be granted in time for the fall semester term.

     And we sold one of the properties in St. Vincent, which helps us purchase the new property here!

     We are so thankful for God's continual provision in the hard, growing times and the joyous times of growth.  Thanks for your encouragement and prayers and support too!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Much Better Day

     Ha!  So today was much better of just being a new day!  There is a yearly retreat for women serving overseas called "Velvet Ashes".  Two other women, one who is Bajan but been a missionary in China the last 2 years and another lady from England got together to retreat.  Brice kept the kids, and he discovered having all them without me all day is harder than he thought, I think.  Or they just really missed me :)  

     The three of us ladies have so much in common, serving in a foreign culture and feeling like outsiders often and messing up often.  All three of us have young children and run them around in various activities and church outings.  And we also all 3 homeschool our kids, which we realize we love but also often times feel inadequate.  So, it was the best time getting away together this year and talking together.  God knew it was just what I needed.  With all the moves, I rarely connect with other women and more just talk to my best friend, Brice, and hang with the kids.  So, this was such a special time to just be with them.

     All in all to say - God knows what we can bear and gives us what He knows is best for us.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A yucky day

     I can usually find joy in everyday, but today is one of those days I just got down.  Living overseas life is at a different pace - a trip to the bank can involve waiting in line several hours or more.  In dealing with the sell of one of the St. Vincent properties (Praise God!) the bank needed Brice and I to get some certified signatures here.  Have I mentioned we don't have anyone to ever babysit for us here?  And we have 4 little ones.  Two very active boys.  And an almost one year old wanting to crawl everywhere.  So, we took a day that took 2 hours to get it done and sent back.  Well, it was done wrong we found out.  And needs to go to one of the few places that will take an hour and half to get there driving, both of us going to sign where we will wait in line minimum of 3 hours to all day, with all 4 kids in tow.  And then drive an hour and half home.  Yes, I was not thrilled that we have this day to look forward to:)

     And then, we have been having an infestation of rats on campus since the cane fields were cut down all around where we live.  They are everywhere!  So I sat down to fold laundry, I kept smelling something. very. bad.  But laundry is always a longer process- getting it washed, hung to dry, praying it does not rain, and taking it off the line.  At the very bottom of my now folded pile - there was a dead rat!  And since that basket has sat for the last 2 days, the rat smelled like it was 2 days gone.  After rewashing 3 times, the clothes still stink.

     I sat down and had a good old cry.  Realized things could be way worse.  Really they could.  And if anyone has a good suggestion for getting rat death out of clothes, I would welcome it.

     Cherish. Each. Day. God. Gives. Us.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Happy Easter

Admidst the group craziness, I got behind.  So a quick catch up- we loved meeting new friends and seeing old friends and all the ways they partnered with WISE! 

Here was our Easter photo....the 3 oldest just trying to keep the baby in the picture- ha!

Naiyah was busy training to be a ball girl for the Davis Cup here.  The choices in sports in St. Vincent were tennis or cricket- we chose tennis.  And we have loved the very affordable lessons she has gotten the last 5 years.  

This past weekend, Brice was speaking and traveling to St. Lucia to recruit students.  For the first time, our family went along.  Basically all the rooms were sold out, so we were in a 8 by 8 room with all 5 of us.  Cockroaches and centipedes abounded and we were never so happy to arrive at home.sweet.home.  We did go on a really fun hike and pray the connections we met there result in more students to come to study.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Group Time

The past week was literally crazy and amazing!  We ended up having 4 groups here- we thought 2 were canceling and ended up double booking- so it was a huge "WISE" party.  They worked so hard all accomplished so much!

Our students did such a fun night at the campfire of local songs native to their country.

Our forwarding agents were here for the week - and Sarah's b-day was upcoming, so we all got to celebrate her!

Brice's mom came in for 3 weeks to hang with the kids and was the perfect time to be here to help watch them as Brice and I drove all the group around.

Friends from college came and Andrew taught 2 different "Apologetics" Seminars that so many learned from and loved.

Rosita, our cook, was the real hero for keeping everyone so well fed the whole week.

Matt, who will move here with his family in August, was here and their church helped build onto their new house.  

Photographer Jon Cooper was also here and took beautiful pics of the growing kids!

This week we have a group of 15 high schoolers, so a totally different pace.  They are painting the chapel, which had not been done yet and helping to remove the rubble from the condemned house.

And one praise is we sold one of the properties in St. Vincent.  Still praying for the other 2 to close and sell. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

To Read or Not to

     Newsletter Updates - For a missionary this can be equated to an end of semester term paper hanging over your heard, yearly taxes, etc.   Sometimes we are excited to share what is going on and other times dreading the writing, proofing, getting pictures that fit the text to match.

    Besides family and visitors to us, it often happens we don't see our supporters except an every 3 year rotation.  This past year at a church we were introduced as missionaries from Jamaica - wrong country!  And then at another church we were introduced as missionaries from Haiti at an elementary school, yes- that was correct 5 years ago we were!  Both of these churches are faithful monthly givers and have only seen us but a few times over the last 10 years, so we hope that our newsletters are a way to keep them connected to the work. We are so grateful for their help and want them to know how their partnership continues to help.

     So after 10 years of writing them monthly and quarterly here are some thoughts we have discovered from them:

- It takes time, thoughts of trying to prepare something that has not been said in the 540 previous ones we have sent out over the years.  We try and think of something original and interesting.

- There is always another one going to be due:)  Even when you breathe a sigh of relief you just finished one.  The next one is around the corner.

- The balance of figuring out if we put too much family news in a whole mission newsletter as opposed to all the news of the mission- with none of our personal family life.

-Because 400 on our list are still mailed and we have those costs of printing and postage, we went from monthly to quarterly newsletters.  Yet, in between  those times we get about 40 requests asking when our next newsletter is coming out.   It shows our life, successes, prayers, joys- and after sending out over 1,600 copies that people have signed up for and asked for- we typically get about  only 8 responses back.  It is definetly not that we want to guilt people into reading, but also want to send something that people want to read.

- In a group of missionary friends, we talked about this one day.  One said her average response was 1 response a newsletter after sending to over 600 people!  Another said after sending out their newsletter the head elder at their church asked to be taken off their mailing list- here is the guy who helps decide how much support goes to them and yet does not want to receive their updates?  This is the person who should be the main contact encouraging them and instead would rather write a check but not hear of their work and progress and what to pray for!

- After we send out a newsletter we typically $400 extra is given from someone who received it.  When we are back on furlough- so many ask us questions on things we have written about and wanting more updates.  So, in a day and age when so much is going on,  we have found so many are praying- you just may not know that instant!

      We'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts on this topic!  Let us know if you read newsletters, what you like to see in them, or other ways to get communication?  We'd love to know how to encourage others through them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Access to good medical care is huge!

      Everyone always thinks Barbados must have everything since such a tourist spot.  I have discovered what they don't have!  Medicine!  Typically I have had extra on hand of different antibiotics and others in case of problems.  For this season, we had none.

     So, I got an infection here.  Did not have antibiotics. These are pretty common for me here- hot climate, not drinking enough, etc. Went to the doctor and they informed me that the medicine was out all over the island, has to be a specific because of breastfeeding!  Has been for 9 months and no hope to get any in the near future.  I explained was in pretty bad pain- we have no visitors coming for a month.  So, no way to get anything brought in.  She quickly assigned a medicine.  Started it, realized it was not helping and instead was making me having a bad reaction.  So, she gave me another medicine, which our family friend doctor informed me was not for it either and was for STD's.  Called the doctor and she said, yes- those medicines weren't for your infection, but there is nothing here to give you, so thought  I would try those.

      Sure made me grateful for all the doctors and medicines over the years was so easily able to get just by an appointment or calling in that day!  Then, on top of all that after trying all these antibiotics I developed a yeast infection.  And of course the doctor informed me they don't have the medicine for that either currently:)

    Would appreciate your prayers we can figure out a solution.  Thank you.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A violent attack

     Yesterday in the news (we have uncensored news, which means you can see a deceased body, blood, violence pictured) I saw that a 74 year old lady here had been killed by 4 pit bulls.  There were pictures and video and it was so horrible.  Then, when I took the kids to their Bible Club with Church I realized the family was from our small church.  The worship leader's mother- in-law, the elder's mom, and the teens in youth group all lost their grandma and mom in this horrible attack.

     When we got to church the next day, their family walked into the 2nd row. And the father and daughter just kept sobbing.  And i am so sad for them and angry at the dogs and the dog owners.  And as the mom led worship that morning, amidst her tears there was a prayer for their hurt and healing but for the dog owner who is an unbeliever.  I was amazed by their faith in less than 20 hours after losing their mother to a violent attack they were able to pray for this man in their heart ache.

     We are blessed to be a part of such a sweet church and ask for prayers for this family in this time.