A Field Trip

 

 

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In front of a float plane

Over the past few years we have been listening to many different biographies, including biographies of missionaries.  Some of these have included Betty Greene who was a WASP during WWII and went on to help found what became Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) as well as Nate Saint who was an MAF pilot in Ecuador and was martyred while trying to bring the life changing message of the forgiveness found in Jesus.  Nate’s sister, Rachel, and Elisabeth Elliott (wife of one of the five men martyred) later went to live with the tribe and see the transformation Christ brought to the Waodoni people.

MAF headquarters is now located in Nampa, ID so we thought it would be fun to get a tour and see how MAF works.  We brought along one Great-Grandma, both Grandmas, an auntie and three cousins.  MAF also works in PNG and helps with flights in and out of places that take days to hike.

 

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Flying over Nampa in the flight simulator
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Getting a view of the planes
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Looking at planes
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Cousins
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Testing what it feels like when trying to keep a propeller plane flying straight (not so easy!)
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Sleepy girl

Leaving Home in Sweet Home

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Seven years ago God brought us to the little town of Sweet Home.  It’s the longest place either of us have lived in our adult lives and now the moving van is packed up and we are on the road.  Sunday morning we were able to spend our last service with our church family and enjoyed getting to spend time with them before heading out.  We’ve been so thankful for their support through this process of moving overseas.  Saying goodbye is never easy.

Speaking of moving overseas, we don’t know yet when we’ll be leaving the States.  Originally we had hoped to leave in October, but because of paperwork delays we are now looking at leaving in November.  The extra time will give Nathan a chance to get some training here in the States with treating club foot.  We are excited for him to begin working with Andy Bennett in PNG at the club foot clinic.  God has drawn us to working with kids with disabilities and now we have this opportunity to work with kids outside of our family.

You can be praying for our paperwork process in the coming months.  We’re waiting for Nathan’s work permit to go through and then we can apply for visas.   Also be praying for Nathan’s mom and my parents as we will be invading their homes in the next few months.  Of course they are excited for grandkids to be around, but seriously, there’s seven of invading all at once!  It’s no small thing to invite our family to live with them for awhile.  We’re so thankful for their willingness (and they might be thankful for some quiet when we’re gone!)

Continue to pray for the chaplains, nurses and doctors in Kudjip as they help treat the physical and spiritual needs of the people in Papua New Guinea.

 

What’s This?

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I asked what “confused” looks like.

As we are getting everything packed up the kids have enjoyed helping to sort through things. Occasionally they find items that are intriguing and wonder what in the world they are for.  This role of film for example.  At 12 years old, our oldest knew what it was, but these two had no idea what to make of it.   I remember my Mom and Dad laughing when they had to explain things that were routinely used in their childhoods and now it’s my turn to laugh.   I wonder what things my kids will have to explain to their children in twenty years.

A Journey with Friends

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The future MKs at the park

We met the Swanson family shortly after we moved to town seven years ago and have enjoyed their family over the years.  Gina is a speech therapist and has worked with our little guy this past year.

This past spring they started feeling God wanted them to move to the mission field, but they weren’t sure where He would take them.  In June they finalized plans to move to the Philippines to work with the urban poor and they leave the end of this month.

It’s been nice to have friends who are walking the road of transition and packing and paperwork the same time we are.  We will miss them, but are thankful for technology that will help keep us in contact as we all move around the world.

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An evening with Gina

Baggage

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After taking inventory of the luggage we currently have it became clear that we’d need a few more pieces.  The bags used while living in Israel probably wouldn’t make it on another international trip in one piece and our family size has long since outgrown the number of carry-on luggage we own.  There were a few family and friends that gave us a suitcase or two, but as I looked for luggage sales it seemed like we’d need a small fortune to purchase the remaining bags.

A couple of months ago Nathan’s second cousin . . . or is it first cousin once removed?  . . . Anyway, Nathan’s dad’s cousin Ed called and said that he had some extra luggage we could have.  We recently stopped by and enjoyed visiting with Ed and Joani and then saw there was quite a lot of extra luggage.  He gave us our pick of what we needed.  Now we’ll just have to figure out how to get all of us along with all of our bags to the airport.

This has been a huge blessings and just one more way God is providing as we prepare to move.

Planned and Unexpected Reunions

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Reunion time fun with Papa

Following a summer trip volunteering with children with disabilities in an orphanage, I returned home and got a job working with children in the US with developmental disabilities like cerebal palsy, autism and Down syndrome.  Several of these children I remember quite well.  Some because they were fun to work with and others because they had behaviors that were challenging.  “E” was a little boy who was challenging and much of that stemmed from difficulties in communicating what he wanted and needed.  He  worked hard with us to learn.

In July we attend my family’s reunion in Idaho.  This was first time in probably close to 15 years that all of my cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents were together in one place.  It was a great time to see everyone again and to have the newest generation together.  It went by far too quickly, but the final weekend we spent together at a camp ground.  On that same weekend was also a camp for adults with developmental disabilities that attended with the company I once worked for.  I saw “E” and several other campers that I had worked with when they were children.  As I stood in the dining hall I watched as “E” approached one of the staff and told them what he wanted.  He communicate clearly.  There was no tantrum, but a calm interaction.  It was thrilling to watch this young man who had come so far since I had known him.  He still has his challenges, but there were many people who have walked beside him to help him make such progress.

Kudjip Nazarene Hospital has the opportunity to help people with disabilities as they seek medical help, however, there aren’t a lot of resources available once they leave the hospital.  Dr. Erin recently wrote about a 12 year old girl named Anna who is paralyzed and came in to have bed sores treated.  Would you read Anna’s story and pray for her.  I am thankful for the help she is getting at the hospital and am praying for someone to step in and help when it is time for her leave.

 

Empty Walls

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On the ride home from bringing our second son home from camp I told him that the neighbors were holding a yard sale with some of our things and he’d probably see toys he recognized.  These were toys that hadn’t been used in awhile.

Truth be told I’m surprised and disappointed to see how much stuff we have sitting around the house that hasn’t been used in awhile.

But anyway, I stood in the kitchen when he raced in with a little panic in his voice.  “Mom!  You didn’t tell me you were selling the pictures!  Did you sell the pictures above the piano?  I liked those pictures!”  I didn’t think he’d notice, but I should have known.  He is my observer.  Not much escapes his attention.  He’s the one who stops us to look at the sunset or the beautiful view on a drive.  He notices the tiny grasshopper silently perched on a twig.  And he’s the one who noticed the pictures were gone.

Up until now moving has been a fun idea, but an abstract idea for the kids.  As the abstract begins to turn into reality I expect there to be more times that the kids feel the loss of a move.  That Nathan and I feel the loss.  This is the only home most of our children remember.  The only home that some have ever known.

There is still much excitement as we prepare to go, but we would appreciate your prayers as we head full-on into the transition of moving and the losses, both big and small, that accompany such a change.

 

Time to Celebrate

It’s March and I’m standing in front of the sink getting ready to brush my teeth before bed when Nathan walks in.

“How much do we owe on our loans?” he asks.

We’ve been trying to save all we can on living expenses, so we can pay all we can on student loans.  Our goal at medical school graduation was to have all the school loans paid off in 10 years.  There were several large purchases that we considered which would have derailed that plan, but when we prayed about them first we knew God wanted us to stay focused on paying off the loans.

I tell him how much we owe and he hands me a slip of paper.  On it is the the amount of our tax return.  Exactly the amount we owe for student loans with enough left over to pay the fee for preparing our taxes.  The last of the loan was paid off 10 years to the month of medical school graduation.

We will now be able to move to PNG debt free!

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Eating out is a rare treat, but well worth it to celebrate paying off the loans.🙂

 

 

The Body

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Traveling around to different churches has given us the opportunity to get a glimpse into the ministries God has started around our district.  In the midst of all the bad news we see reported it is refreshing to see the hope God is brining to these communities.  There are puppet ministries, a coffee shop ministry and churches that open their doors for other churches to use the facilities.  One church took their  Sunday morning service time to help out around the homes of people in the community.  Another has a weekly food pantry. On multiple occasions I have seen churches that have been such a blessing to me personally as a mom of kids with special needs as they have welcomed  adults with developmental disabilities with open arms.   What a beautiful and hope-filled picture of the body of Christ these churches are to their congregations and surrounding communities.

Beyond Physical Healing

Moving to PNG involves far more than treating the physical wounds and illnesses of the body.  Helping people find healing through the forgiveness of Christ is also incredibly important and changes lives.  Read about Robert, who faced few consequences for fighting, drugs and robbery, until one attempted robbery landed him in the hospital.  Pray with us that Robert will be discipled in his new found faith in Christ.