Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Taken by Shannon last September, this is a photo of children on Maisome Island, in the middle of Lake Victoria, Tanzania. Everywhere we visited over there, when a camera came out so did the children. They all loved to have their pictures taken.

It is for the children that we will move. We want to know that children like these but are homeless and living on the streets have a place to rest their head at night, someone to hug them goodnight and someone to tell them about Jesus.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Happy 40th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

On Saturday my sister, Corryn, and I threw a get-together for our parents. Mom and Dad, John and Sharon, joined in wedded bliss 40 years ago on August 25th, 1967. Ok,
so bliss it wasn't always but they have done a great job in modeling what a loving, Christian marriage is supposed to look like. In a world where divorce is becoming more common than staying married, I am so proud of them, that even through the difficult times, they have overcome. I remember as a child, when friends parents were divorcing, always wondering if that would happen to my parents. I am so blessed to only have two sets of parents, Shannon's and my own. Thanks Mom and Dad, for loving each other and supporting each other for so long. I pray for many, many more happy years together!

Yup! They still kiss!

John and Sharon-40 years

Me on the left, my sister Corryn on the right.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In the Line of Fire

A couple of years ago the guys in our family discovered a new activity...paintballing. For a couple of years now, it has been easy to buy them gifts. First it was the guns, then the Co2 tanks. Then helmets, ammo belts, paintballs, ect. It seems a crazy activity to me-shooting at each other with paintballs. Paintballs that hit you really hard and then explode. It often causes bruising. But then, I am a girl and don't understand a guys need to conquer.

This past Sunday afternoon, Shannon, Collin and E played capture the flag on our back acreage. We have several old buildings, sheds, trailers and brush piles back there making for good cover. The pics were a bit hard to obtain as I inevitably put myself in the line of fire to get some of them. I got hit on the calf once. It bruised.

Collin-see how he is all covered up in heavy clothing? He doesn't like how those paintballs hurt when they make contact either! He was the winner of all three games of defend the flag they played.

Shannon the tough guy. Jeans and a t-shirt were enough for him. You should see the bruises he has on his legs though! Ouch!

E. He's likes lots of padding just like his big brother. This was one of his first big "wars" since he got his own set up for Christmas last year.

I loved watching this as they both went around the building. They knew the other was there but it took a bit of time before they connected.

A good time was had by all, including myself and the girls who watched from the safety of the house.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

This is another transportation picture. It was taken last September by Shannon from the top deck of the ferry they rode between Maisome Island in Lake Victoria to Mwanza...a 12 hour ride. If you look along the left edge of the deck, you can see where the passengers got on and off the boat. It is a three foot wide pile of bags of dried fish that one needed to walk along. With the dirty lake on one side and the longhorns on the other, they didn't want to fall!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Update on My Mom's Breast Cancer Fight

Because I have had several people ask about this recently, I wanted to share how my Mom is doing. Mom had 4 chemo treatments. With each one she got sicker and sicker. With the last treatment she was quite sick for over two weeks. She is feeling pretty good right now except that her hemoglobin, the red blood cells in her blood, is currently measuring 7.3. Normal is 11-14. This makes her tired and light headed. She met with the radiation doctor who says he will not begin her radiation treatments until her hemoglobin is at least 9, which is still low.

Once radiation begins, it is 5 days per week for 7 weeks. According to the doctor she will feel pretty good for about two weeks but then will start feeling tired. It has a cumulative effect so she will get more and more tired over the rest of the treatments. The fatigue cannot be relieved by rest and will only go away after the treatment is over.

Mom should be feeling ok for the 40th Anniversary party my sister and I are throwing for her and Dad next Saturday. However, it looks like by mid-September she will be pretty tired until the end of October or middle of November at least.

Please continue to keep her and my Dad in your prayers. She is going to beat this. The surgeon was fairly confident they got it all out during surgery. The treatments are her insurance...very valuable in all of our eyes. We are so thankful it was caught early and even more thankful for the support and prayers she has received from friends and family.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

This is a photo Shannon took during his 2006 trip to Tanzania. In the center of the photo you can see an umbrella, currently down, with a few items below it. Shannon said there were two small children living there. This photo shows all that they own except what is on their backs as they are away, likely scrounging for food.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Porcupines- Good for Your Health

Recently I have been involved in several discussions and teachings that relate to each other. At the home school forums I hang out at the someone posed the topic called "Given up on church but not on God? Please share your story." In another thread it was asked, "What is church?" Then at church yesterday, Pastor Keith spoke a bit about the church.

What is the church supposed to be? There is no easy answer to that. I think that every person will have a different answer to that question. We may, in general, come to some sort of agreement of what the church is supposed to be but then the dilemma becomes, How exactly is the church supposed to carry that out?

Let me share a story-
A porcupine stands shivering by himself near a group of other porcupines. The other porcupines are huddling together, staying warm in the cold. The lonely porcupine has a choice to make-does he want to join the others, and get warm, or stay by himself, shivering in the cold where he could even die. The choice seems easy-but one must remember that to be in the group, there will be sticks and pokes, some of which are quite uncomfortable.

People are like that-we stick and poke each other. Sometimes it is quite uncomfortable but it is a part of the relationships. Sometimes, the pokes hurt and are seemingly for no good but in reality, even though the pokes hurt, they serve our greater good. The poke may be something that helps us to grow in our love, in our grace, in our patience or in our faith.

Matthew 27:5 says, "So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself." As Pastor Keith told us yesterday, there are two key words in this verse and they are not "hanged himself." The key words are that he "went away" and isolated himself from others. It was after that isolation that he died.

Friday, August 10, 2007

He Chooses Us As Is

Moses was a stutterer
David was a murderer
Jeremiah suicidal
Naked in the street
Paul, he had a problem
The specifics left unsaid
Timothy had stomach aches
And Lazarus was dead

These are the words to the first verse of a song by Peder Eide called As Is. We first heard the song at Sonshine last month. Peder is a praise and worship leader that was at Sonshine each day and led the worship every afternoon. I highly recommend his music. Our entire family likes it so bought a couple of his CDs.

The song is about how God wants is. At graduation Rev. Debra reminded us, "God does not look at who you are but at who you are willing to become." I know that Shannon and I have a past that neither of us are proud of but we also know that it is our past hat makes us who we are today. Without that past, we would not realize how great He is, we would not be able to fully identify with those struggling with the same things we have. I am so thankful for a great God who will use me in spite of my shortcomings.

And now for the rest of the lyrics to the song...

Samson was a long-haired
Arrogant womanizer
Rahab was scarlet corded
Lady of the street
John the baptist eatin'
bugs and honey on his bread
Gideon a scaredy cat
And Lazarus was dead

Noah was a drunk man
Abraham an old man
Jacob was a liar man
Leah second best
Jonah should have followed God
But ran away instead
Martha was a worrywart
And Lazarus was dead

As is
As is
He chooses us as is
As is
As is
Infuses us as is
With never ending
Love transcending
All our weakness
No excuses
He uses us as is

Copyright 2006 Ya Sure! Music

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Many bloggers out there have something they call Wordless Wednesday. It is pretty self explanatory-a post made up of one or more pictures and few if any words. I have decided to try this for awhile, posting some of my favorite Africa related pictures. Some will be ones Shannon, Collin or I have taken, others will be ones that I have found somewhere on the World wide web. This first picture is from a BBC News photo series on African transportation. The photo was taken in Zimbabwe but I can tell you we saw a lot of vehicles in similar circumstances while in Tanzania. In Tanzania, where there are no speed limits anywhere, the hardtop roads have speed bumps every mile or so. If it is the same in Zimbabwe I wonder if everyone in the back of this pickup has to jump up at the same time for the truck to get over the speed bumps.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This Little Light of Mine

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine...

I remember, as a young child, singing this song, in bible school, Sunday school and at church camp. At our graduation ceremony a couple of weeks ago, as each of the graduates entered the sanctuary, we carried candles. Those candles represented to us, the Holy Spirit that we each have within us. As Rev. Debra spoke the message she spoke of how "darkness has no power once the light enters."

In Exodus, Moses says, "If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you." God replied, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

Think of a dark room-darker than when you close your eyes, as dark as dark can be. Now someone enters, bringing just a tiny flame, just a flicker. That is all it takes to kill the darkness.

I look forward to sharing my light with others through ministry to the people of Tanzania. My biggest hope is that the children we serve there will grow up to be shining lights in their country and the world.

"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light." -John Keith Falconer

Friday, August 03, 2007

Please pray for a quick and complete recovery and decisions to be made

Today, Shannon had outpatient surgery to remove a polyniadal(sp?) cyst. This is an internal cyst located just below his tail bone that acts up and causes much pain and even drainage. This is the third time he has had this done. It has left him with a hole about 2 inches across and about that deep as well. This is one of those things we are well aware would not be fun to have causing problems once we are in Tanzania.

We are enjoying how God is making connections these past few weeks in the interest of the ministry. The nurse last week, possibly interested in moving over there. The farmer and computer whiz interested in helping, even other doctors or nurses expressing interest in what we are doing. A woman I know from the Mothers of Preschoolers group we both served on the steering committee of who is in the process of preparing for a move to Zambia and a couple from Michigan, already working in church planting in Mwanza. Shannon hopes to meet them while there next month. The latest was the discovery we made online of a couple moving to Mwanza next year. They live in the Twin Cities area now. We hope to connect with them before we all move...and after, of course.

It seems like God is beginning to put the people together and pieces in place for this to happen soon. Shannon an I are beginning to talk of a cross-cultural training program we would like to participate in before we move. The program is located in Colorado Springs and is quite expensive. We do realize though that the success of the minstry depends on our cross-cultural adjustment. It is much cheaper for us to pay to do the training than to move and have to return home from the field due to an inability to adjust. We need to make a decision soon if we plan to go there as it it booked out many months in advance.

Please join us in praying for Shannon's complete recovery. Pray that the pain will be minimal and recovery speedy. Also, please pray with us as we contemplate the decision for future training.

We will be sending out a letter soon to friends and family about the upcoming trip seeking some prayer and financial support. Please, even if you cannot send money, let us know if you plan to be praying while he is away. It is the prayer support that makes this ministry possible and it is the prayer that helps to bring the finances in.