Thursday, July 31, 2014

Another school year!

After our long, difficult month of June, things seemed to finally settle back to our normal (if I dare use that word in relation to our life!).
The monsoon rains (finally) started, which cut the temperature considerably. While our rainfall here is below normal, rainy days and overcast skies give a welcome relief from the soaring 100+ temperatures we had been enduring for so long!
Just a warning..a cool rain shower after soaring heat..tends to bring out the crazy in some....:-)

And...because summer is officially over here, that means it's time to start school!  This may seem strange to my American friends who are still in the middle of their summer, but our school year runs from July to late March or early April We are in the second week of school, and almost back into the swing of things.  I don't know about any other homeschoolers, but for us, it takes a couple weeks to get our school schedule synched with our already busy ministry schedule.  So here are some pictures of my students!
Alyssa - 10th
Naomi - 9th
Melody - 7th
Ethan - 5th
And...last but not least, Kara started kindergarten this year!  It doesn't seem possible, but here we are!  She is doing great, and flying through her work.  She loves school, and usually begs for more work (I wonder how long that will last :-))

Monday, June 30, 2014

Heat, Sickness, and Sad Goodbyes

I guess the title of this post could sum up the month of June for us.  Have you ever had one of those months?  Not "one of those days" or "one of those weeks", but "one of those months"!!  That's the way I feel about this past month.


Yes, that should be in full caps and bold!  May and June are the hottest months of the year for us.  This June has been record breaking.  It goes over 100 every day, and we saw 118 at least 3 times!  Please don't ask if it's wet or dry's just plain scorching!  One of the kids asked one day if it was this hot in the desert, so I checked the weather in Iraq and Saudi Arabia..the temperature was lower!  So, I told them, "We beat the desert today guys!"

Summer is survival time for me. I've had less sick days this year, I think for at least two reasons.  First, the girls have been a huge help!  They have taken over a lot of the physical work that is difficult for me to get done at this time of year. I don't know how I survived summers without their help before! Second, we have had more stable electricity.  Usually our power cuts have been only an hour, or at the most 2 hours in a day.  In the past we have had up to 8 hours or more a day of power cuts, so that has been a blessing!

Welcome to the sick ward!
 In case it didn't make the news, there has been an epidemic in North India this summer.  Don't get too's a chicken pox epidemic!  Living in a place where we encounter typhoid, TB, and hepatitis on a regular basis, chicken pox really doesn't worry me, but I guess you could say it added to the excitement of life this month, and made things a little more stressful.  Naomi was hit first.  Thankfully, she pretty much takes care of herself and doesn't complain much when sick, but I did miss some meetings in order to stay home with her for the first couple days.  There was a week in between (that was a difficult week in and of itself, so I'm glad for the gap), and then the 3 youngest came down with it.  This was one of those "full court press" times for Mom, as they each had a sleepless night. Thankfully, they are all recovering well, and are almost back to normal.

The Bible says to "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep".  It seems that when you are in the ministry, your heart becomes knit with the hearts of the people that you work with, and this verse becomes reality.  We got one of those terrible "middle of the night" phone calls recently.  One of the dear ladies in our church had suddenly passed into Heaven at only 44 years old.  Our hearts hurt for her husband and son, and we have been walking through the grief with them.  Through it all the grace of God is very evident, but it is difficult.
We have been blessed to have many college students in our church through the years, and because of this we face a different kind of goodbye.  Some of them are only with us for 2 years, while studying for their Masters.  Thankfully, we get some longer as they work toward PhD!  Still, our time with them is limited and the end of June is the end of their course.  We have 8 who are leaving us this year, and while we are sad for us, we are excited to see how and where God will use them as they move on to their next phase of life.

So, this kind of sums up our month, excluding the things we have faced that cannot be shared, as well as some birthdays, an anniversary, and a couple youth meetings, and....(ok you get the picture).  These are the days when we appreciate the prayers of our supporters so much.
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, Persecuted but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." 2Corinthians 4:8-9

Thursday, June 5, 2014

You're right

Sometimes our children, in their innocence and outspoken way, can really nail us with their observations.  Has this ever happened to you?  We were driving past a Hindu temple the other day, one that we pass once or twice a week.  It's a big temple so there are always a lot of people coming and going.

As we were driving past Kara said, "Why are all those people going in there to worship those idols?"
"Well", I told her, "they are searching for God, but they don't know the truth, so they are worshiping the idols."
 "We know the truth, right Mom?  We know about Jesus, they should just ask us."
You're right, Kara.
And that's exactly why we're here.
Even if they don't ask, we need to tell.

Mark 16:15  Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Luke 14:23  ...Go out into highways and hedges, and compel them to come in...
Mark 9:37 ...The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.
I Peter ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bible Study: Jochebed

Last week I started sharing a Bible Study titled: "Strong Women of the Bible".  You can find the introduction here.

Exodus 1:8-22;2:1-10 Numbers 26:59  Hebrews 11:23
Jochebed is the mother of Moses.  She lived during a very terrible time in the history of the Hebrews.  Jochebed and her family lived as slaves for the Pharaoh of Egypt.  The Hebrew slaves in those days were used to make bricks, by hand, and to build beautiful cities for the king of Egypt.
"And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:  And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage..." Exodus 1:13-14
We, in our modern day, do not know anything about the life of a slave, except for those things that we read.  Slaves were totally at the mercy of their masters.  They had no say over their own lives or families, and could be beaten or killed without question.  The independent culture of today cannot comprehend the reality of this kind of life.  This is where we find Jochebed.  As if the life of a slave wasn't terrible enough, Pharaoh made another decree.  All male babies born to the Hebrews would be killed.
"And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river..." Exodus 1:22
 Can you imagine?  To give birth to a boy and have him stolen from you and killed, and you could do absolutely nothing about it!  How terrible it would be to be so helpless, and not be able to protect your child.  It would seem in the face of these insurmountable circumstances, it would be easy just to give up.  Whatever happens will happen.  There is nothing that can be done about it.
So, what about Jochebed?  Here she is, a woman, a slave, living at the mercy of Pharaoh and his taskmasters, but a woman that trusted Jehovah, and made a decision to not be helpless, not to give up hope but to protect her child by risking her own life, and by putting him in the hands of an Almighty God.
"And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months" Exodus 2:2
Here is where she risks her life.  She hid her newborn for 3 months.  What do you think would have happened if one of the Egyptian taskmasters had discovered this baby?  Certainly the baby would have been killed, and Jochebed and her husband probably would have been killed too.  By the way, why would you want to save your child, if he was destined for a life of cruel bondage as a slave?  Jochebed could not see the future.  She did not know that her baby would one day lead the whole nation of Israel out of that bondage, but she understood that God had a purpose for his life.  God, who gave her a boy, when it would have been so much easier to have had a girl.  But, this is where her trust in God came in.
"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Jeremiah 1:5
In the country where we serve, people want sons.  Many will come forward in a meeting to ask us to pray that their unborn child, is a boy.  Even those who profess to be Christians are tempted to end the life of their unborn child, when they fear they will have another girl. In industrialized nations many will opt for an abortion when they are told their child may be diseased, or suffer during their days on this earth.   I am always saddened and sickened to hear these stories.  God, who is the Giver of life, has a purpose in the life of every boy and girl that he sends into our families.  To end the life of our child because they may not be the son we think we need, or they may suffer in this life, shows our lack of trust in the sovereignty of God.  Jochebed got a son, when a daughter would have been better (humanly speaking). She got a son that would live a life of suffering and bondage.  But she must have realized that her child was " heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward". Psalms 127:3  So it is with every child that the Lord sends to us.
The day came when Jochebed realized that her baby could no longer be hidden.  But this mother was not ready to give up, she was just getting started!  "And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink." Exodus 2:3  What was she doing here?  She was using her God-given intelligence to move forward.  One phrase that I use often with my kids is: "You have a brain, so use it!"  When a crisis comes or a decision has to be made we can't let fear paralyze us into inaction.  Doing nothing would have cost the life of her child.  Also, interestingly enough, it is not Jochebed's husband that is following through with this plan.  We are not told where he is or what he is doing during this time, but he is not mentioned.  I will tell you that many times on the mission field when I have been faced with trouble, a crisis, or a time that a decision needed to be made, my husband has been in a remote village with no cellphone reception.  Please understand I am in no way down playing the role of a husband and father.  My point it that we cannot always wait for someone else to make the decision or take the action.  "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally..." James 1:5
At this point, Jochebed is placing her child in the hands of God and trusting Him for the outcome.
 "And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him." Exodus 2:4
Some have suggested that Jochebed knew that the daughter of Pharaoh would come down to bathe at this time every day.  I don't know that I agree with that statement, but we have no way of knowing.  But, why would she think the daughter of Pharaoh would save her child?  She could have very well thrown him into the river herself!  Miriam was there watching, to see what would become of him.  Jochebed had no way of influencing the outcome.  Her child was totally in the hands of God.  We can see here the truth of Proverbs 3:5-6.  "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths."  Jochebed trusted in the Lord to direct her path, from the first day of her child's life, when she hid him, until this day when she let him go.
What is the end of the story?  The daughter of Pharaoh found the baby, and had compassion on him.  His sister said she would find a nurse for the baby, of course it was his own mother.  Who, but God, could have brought about such an outcome?  Jochebed received her baby back into her care, and was paid to raise him!  Exodus 2:6-9  During those precious years that she had her son, Jochebed nurtured him in the things of God, so that later, the man Moses became the leader of the nation of Israel.  The one who led them out of slavery.  In the book of Hebrews it is said of him:  "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of  Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season".  Hebrews 11:24-25  Moses, not the son of Pharaoh's daughter, the son of Jochebed, a strong woman.

What are some principles we can take from the life of this strong woman?
1. She did not give up hope.
2.  She risked her life for the life of her child.
3.  She understood that God has a purpose for every life.
4.  She used her God-given wisdom to act, when necessary
5.  She placed her child into the hands of God.
6.  She nurtured her child in the things of God, so that he, one day, made the decision to reject the world, and follow the leading of God in his life. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bible Study: Strong Women in the Bible (Introduction)

Two evenings a week I lead Bible Studies for ladies.  One is on Tuesday nights in Chandigarh with the ZCFC Chandigarh fellowship, and the other is on Wednesday nights in Mohali with our college girls.  Both of these Bible studies have been keeping me busy with preparation.  I usually don't use the same study with both groups.  Mainly this is because I feel the needs are different in each group, and I try to keep that in mind when planning what to study.  Right now for the Chandigarh fellowship, we are studying purity.  The Mohali group is studying "Strong women of the Bible".

I have used some Bible study books in the past, but I usually revert back to making my own outlines.  Even when I use a book, I just use it as a base, and then branch out from there. 

For our recent Bible conference I taught 4 classes for the ladies.  When praying and studying in preparation for these classes, the Lord really impressed something on my heart, and gave me a study of the women of the Bible, different than what I had done before.  When leading a Bible study or ladies class, the teacher should be sharing what they have learned in the past, or what the Lord is currently teaching them, and that is exactly what happened for me with this study.
So, about once a week on this blog, I am planning to share with you some points or highlights of this Bible Study, "Strong Women of the Bible."

Strong Women of the Bible (Introduction) 
Most of the time in churches, and family conferences, we hear the verse about women being "the weaker vessel".I Peter 3:7  That is very true, women are, generally, weaker emotionally and physically. This verse is instructing husbands about the support and strength they need to be giving to their wives.  But, on the other hand, this verse does not say that women are to be "weak".  I am not advocating that women be overbearing, loud, and obnoxious, far from it. This sinful world is full of sickness, disasters, heart breaking realities and fearful worries.  We, as women, many times walk in the middle of trial and hardship.  During these times, falling apart and being weak and helpless will not help our husband, children, family, or church.  Think about the women that you know personally.  Who would you want to walk beside you during a crisis?  Why would you choose this person?  If someone was walking through a crisis, would they choose you to walk beside them?

Ephesians 6:10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might
II Timothy 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Psalm 144:12  ...that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace

Stay tuned for a look at some women of the Bible who lived through terrible trials and crisis, but were strong for the Lord, and even in the midst of their personal fire, they changed their world.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A couple pictures

Yes, we believe in close fellowship...literally. This was prayer meeting last night.
Where are you, Ethan?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Come visit???


I started writing this post and edited it more than once.  One of my daughters (the one who can be as sarcastic as her mom)  asked why I changed it, "It was funny before".  Well, when you use sarcasm in conversation people can tell by your tone and expression that you are being sarcastic, when you write, it is easy to be misunderstood.  So, here is the post (minus the funny stuff a.k.a sarcasm).

We have been on the field for over 12 years, and in that time we have had a grand total of 2 visitors from the US.  One was a pastor from a supporting church (2003), and the other was a family that we had never met (2007). Both of these times  were exciting and memorable.  We still talk about them. We have invited a lot of people to visit us here...a LOT.  We usually get a typical reaction.
1.  A chuckle of disbelief..
2.  A laugh of amusement.
3.  A shake of the head.
4. A rude response
5.  A positive response...for someday.
I admit, when we ask someone to visit and get one of these responses, or they just look at us as if we are crazy, it hurts.  How would you feel if you invited someone to visit you, and you got such a response?  This is where we live, where we work, where we serve.
Why do we want visitors?
We get lonely.  This is probably the main reason.  Any field can be a lonely place.
We would like to share our home and the city we call home, and those that we work and live along side, with those that we love.
We would like people to see what we see and experience what we experience on a daily basis. You will definitely be able to more intelligently pray.
We would like someone to understand, more than can be understood through our stories.
A fellow missionary wife wrote a blog post that got me to thinking along these lines again.  I have thought this way many times through these years, and she expressed it so well.
I will link her post here, and hope that it gets someone to thinking about why we continue to ask you to visit us.
I really wish they understood
I really hope you understand.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A close family

One of the hardest things about being on the mission field (I'm speaking for me personally), is being on the other side of the world from my family. 

One of the hardest things about furlough, are the inevitable good-byes that must be said when it's over. 
When my kids were younger, it used to bother me that it didn't really bother them to say the good-byes.  They were too young to understand that it would be years before we were together again. They seemed to look at me and wonder "What's wrong with Mom?"   Now that they're older, we all cry together.
The last night before returning to the field we spent with my parents and my brother's family.  My kids are best friends with their cousins.  They really are.  When they get together, even if it's been years, they act like they've never been apart.

I will not open the door to that private time with the family, but it was hard.  But, my Dad made some comments that have stuck with me, since that sad day.  He said, "We need to be thankful. Not everyone has such a close family, or a family that loves each other and wants to be together like we do. We are blessed. And there are so many ways to stay in touch, skype, texts.  We can still stay close as a family."
Thanks Dad, you are right, as usual.
So, today I am thankful for my family.
That they love and serve God.
That they love each other...even while they aggravate each other;-)
That they have always supported so many ways.
That they never say "Don't go"...they just say "Follow God, but we will miss you"
That they are always just a phone call away.
Yes, I am thankful, and we are blessed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I admit...I am excited

Those of you who know me well will understand and appreciate this post...those of you who don't know me that may wonder why I am excited.
Those of you who have ever left all that you know, all that you love, and all that is familiar to live in another place that doesn't look, smell, feel, or taste like anything you've ever known will understand and appreciate this post...those of you who have not had this may wonder what the big deal is.
When we first came to the field in 2001, the city that we lived in had no American all.  No McD's, no Pizza Hut...nothing even remotely familiar to us.  It doesn't sound like a big deal, and it really isn't, but sometimes it feels like a big deal.  We got used to not having these things available, but whenever we get back to the US..we thoroughly enjoy the treat of eating familiar, comforting food.  Since those early days, we have moved to a new city, and within the last few years many places have opened up here...McD's, Subway, Pizza Hut, Dominos, KFC. won't believe what we found..on the 3rd floor in the back of the Food Court in a new mall that opened recently.
It's only 15 minutes from our house, on a road that we travel at least once a week.
This could be dangerous...
But it will definitely be very delicious! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Election 2014

India has begun it's national election today.  Every five years, the country votes for new members of Parliament and elects a new Prime Minister.  There are some things about the election process here that are strange to us, who are used to the American political process.
The election just starts today.  It won't be finished today...or this week, or even this month.  The voting will be going on from now until May 12th.  (That's a lot different than our one day elections!)  The results of the voting will be published on the 16th of May, more than a month after the voting starts!  That's a lot different than the results of our US elections being "projected" before the polls even close!

The different states vote on different days.  Some of the larger states have more than one day of voting.  Votes will be cast in Chandigarh on April 10th, and in the state of Punjab on April 30th.  The reason for the staggered voting is mostly due to security concerns.  There are always riots and violence associated with the elections. (Don't worry, we stay at home and away from polling stations on election days.)  There will be over 2 million police and security officers dispatched through the country to protect the polling stations.  There are also concerns about corruption.  Somehow, this staggered process is supposed to cut down on fraud. (Hmmm..I wonder)
High tech voting booth!
Interesting facts about elections in India:
This election there are 814.5 million people registered to vote.  This is the largest number of voters in the world.
More than 100 million new voters are eligible to place their votes in this election.
This election is estimated to cost 35 billion rupees (about 580 million US dollars). This excludes the cost of security and what individual political parties have spent.
The parties are estimated to have spent 305 billion rupees ($5 billion US dollars).  This is second only to what was spent by US political parties in the 2012 election ($7 billion US dollars).
Please pray for this election.  Things could change drastically here in India depending on which candidate comes into office.  We are praying for God's guidance, protection, and peace, no matter what the outcome of this election, because we know that all things are in His hands.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bible Conference 2014

Thank you to all those that prayed for our Bible Conference!  Everything went extremely well, and all the meetings were a blessing.  The attendance was high every night (over 150 every night and the last night over 200), and we saw people saved and hearts touched. 
There were pastors visiting from different parts of India, and we enjoyed good fellowship.  We especially enjoyed our fellowship with Pastor and Mrs. Eda from Mumbai.  They have been serving God there for 33 years!  This couple is always a blessing and encouragement to us in the ministry.
We held separate classes in the mornings for the pastors and ladies.  Alyssa and Naomi were pressed into service as translators for the ladies classes. This is the first time they have translated in a formal class setting.  It is a blessing to see them using their knowledge of the languages to help in the ministry.
We are so thankful for the ways we are seeing God working in hearts.  Our desire is to see souls come to Christ and follow Him wherever He may lead them in life. 
They were singing "Jesus is Coming Soon".  Reminded us of our college days, singing this same song in the choir.
Thank you for your prayers for our family and the ministry here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bible Conference

Things have been rolling along pretty well over here...very busy!  Our annual Bible Conference starts tomorrow.  We have national pastors coming from different parts of the country (some with families along).  We are not sure exactly how many are coming, but we never know until they get here.  Some who have said they are coming may not show up, and others may show up that we don't know about!  There will be classes for the pastors and the ladies each morning, and preaching in the evening.  I will be teaching 3 classes for the ladies, as well as Sunday School on Sunday.  Brian is also teaching some classes for the pastors, and preaching.  We have 2 special speakers coming who will teach classes, as well as preach.
This is always a good time of fellowship and instruction.  We don't just want to "have a meeting".  We are praying to see real change in the lives of people.  Many need to be saved, many need to be faithful, and many need to be encouraged.  Please pray for our Conference, Thursday to Sunday.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

One step forward...

One step forward, and two steps back...that's the story of my life for the last couple days.  We have been in India for only a week.  It seems like a lot longer than that, but it always seems that way to me.  I think it's because our life and activity is so different here, that everything else seems far away. 

So, my one step forward...Since we have been living out of suitcases for so long, I was ready to get rid of the suitcases as soon as possible!  By Monday, I finally emptied the last suitcase and things were looking pretty good in the house.  Now for the two steps back...
(Just for your info., I answered the doorbell 3 times since starting this post)

Then we visited the landlord and told him about a few repairs that needed to be made in the house.  There was terrible mold in one bathroom, and one of the kids' rooms.  Also, one of the bathrooms needed some major repairs.  The landlord said he would send someone after the first of the month.  So, I continued my setting up and cleaning.
 (Just now went to buy some vegetables from the vegetable seller.)
He sent the painters and plumber the next day.  So...the bedroom that was set up and neat...
Turned into a work zone...
(time to go to prayer meeting)
(Back from prayer meeting, finished supper, and got everyone settled in bed)
The one bedroom and bathroom to be painted, turned into touching up the living/dining room.  The "paint" mostly used here is more like white-wash, so it quickly gets dirty and marked up.  It needed to be done.  So, after 2 days of painting, repairing, rearranging...etc...I am back to one room set up and clean.

Nothing on the walls yet

But, the walls look fresh and clean, no pencil marks or dirty hand prints, and the bathroom is repaired (it even has hot water..woohoo!)  So, I'm thankful.  Tomorrow is another day, and we're planning to get the rest of the rooms back in order...along with catching up on laundry since we had no afternoon or evening water supply...and shopping for groceries for the meeting...and working on classes for next week...and...well I think you get the picture!  One step forward! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

We made it

Warning:  This is a long post, but I thought some of you may be wondering how our travel and return to India has gone.
It would be very hard to describe the last few weeks.  I'm not exactly sure what a "time warp" is, but I wonder if we were sucked into one!  After attending one last missions conference, after sorting, discarding, rearranging, and packing, after some very emotional "good-bye's", we traveled to Boston on March 11th.

It is always a little nerve-racking to check-in at the airport on the way back to India.  We are a family of seven...with 15 suitcases...and 7 carry-ons...7 passports...7 visas to be checked (and rechecked).  India is a country that changes its policies often, and without warning.  Sometimes they will ask for a different piece of paperwork that they never asked for before, sometimes they won't ask for anything, so we never know what to expect.  This time they checked and rechecked my PIO card, they discussed it among themselves and handed me a piece of paper that said I could travel on the PIO with no problem.  I never had to use the piece of paper, I was never asked for it, but then again "better safe than sorry"! 
All of our luggage was weighed, and all were under weight! Yay!  If you have to travel internationally and have to pack a lot, get a luggage scale (ours is from LL Bean).  It's a lot easier to move things from one suitcase to another and get the weight right when you are in the privacy of your home, than it is when you are in front of a hundred strangers at the airport (this is the voice of experience!)
After a 6 hour flight to London, a long layover, and an almost 9 hour flight to India, we arrived in Delhi on Friday.  We flew through customs (the customs agent just wanted to know if all these kids were ours :-))

And...we made it!  We are back in India.  The jet lag hasn't been too bad.  It seems we are almost back to a normal sleeping schedule already.  The children are excited to be back, and have been enjoying their friends, and their favorite Indian foods.  I have been feverishly working to get this house looking like a home again, instead of a storage unit! Alyssa and Naomi have been a great help with this.  We had to switch the older girls to a different bedroom, because the room they had been using has mold growing, and Alyssa has asthma issues if she is in a moldy environment.  Since moving to the other bedroom, she seems to be doing well.  Hopefully, the landlord will be sending someone to deal with that situation in a few weeks.
The weather has been beautiful (in the 70s and 80s).  We should have a week or two before it hits 100. 

We have a Bible Conference, next Thurs. to Sun.  The guest speaker and his wife and daughter will be staying at our home, so I have to get the place "guest-ready" before then.  I also have 4 ladies classes to get ready for, so my mind is whirling about all those things, but I am trying to get things done one step at a time. 
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us.  Our travel and transition back to India has gone very well.  We miss many things about the US, we miss many people (and wish they would come for a visit **Hint Hint), but we are thankful to know that God has put us in this place for His purpose.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blessings of furlough

During these months in the US,  we have been blessed over and over in various ways and by various people all over the US and even in Canada.  I just want to share with you a few of the major ways that we have been supported and blessed during these ministry days in the US.

1. A home
HA HA! Sod house replica in Walnut Grove, MN

We don't own a home in the US (or in India either, for that matter), but while in the US we always have a place to call home.  In Maine, we stay with my parents.  They give up their sewing/computer room and put up with kids sleeping all over their living room floor.  The kids also have a second home with their cousins and try their level best to stay there at least once a week while we are there.  Our sending church has an apartment that we stay in when we are in Indiana or have meetings nearby.  We also have close friends in Maryland who make us feel at home when we are in their area.  Our two large families, ten kids total, stay together and somehow it works out really well! 

2. A van
As a missionary traveling thousands of miles over a few month period, your vehicle becomes another home, and a very important part of your family life!  Friends, who will remain nameless because they may skin me alive if I put their name on the internet, have provided us a 12 passenger van to use while we are here.  Plenty of room for the family, and plenty of room for luggage.  We will definitely miss "the Big White" when we return to India.

3. Prayer cards
Every time we come for a furlough, or have another baby, we need to get updated prayer cards made.  A new supporting church mentioned that one of their members knew how to design cards, and had done a beautiful one for their church.  We got in contact with her and after only sending her a picture and some info. that we wanted included on the card she sent us back a beautiful prayer card.  We have gotten compliments at almost every church about how beautiful our prayer card is.  If you are a missionary that needs a new prayer card design, please contact her.  You won't be sorry.

4. Love and encouragement
While visiting churches there have been so many that have encouraged us and loved us in multiple ways, I could never name them all or try, but we have been blessed.

5. Luggage
This just happened today so I will share it. Through a contact of our sending church pastor, someone that we have never met donated this beautiful luggage.  (Don't ask me how stressed I feel looking at these empty suitcases, that I will soon have to fill!)   These are the best suitcases we have ever had, the kind that we have stared longingly at in various airports around the world!
And yes..these children do belong to me!  There are so many more blessings I could mention, too many, but these that I've mentioned are major..yes MAJOR blessings to this missionary family.