Monthly Archives: January 2016

Celebrating, Learning, and Grieving

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The past 10 days have been a whirlwind of activity and have been filled with a mix of emotions.

First, we celebrated Noah’s 10th birthday with some friends. We enjoyed some homemade pizza, cupcakes, a movie, Nerf wars, and fellowship. I’m so thankful for the people God provides in all the places He takes us in this world!

I’m also thankful for Noah. He is one-of-a-kind, always keeping us on our toes, and is becoming quite the young man. I’m so excited to see what God has in store for him this year!

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Then, we packed up the van and headed north first thing Saturday morning. We drove about 6 hours and landed in Chillicothe, Ohio. Although this is Aaron’s birthplace, he was 2 years old when he moved to PA, and therefore didn’t have anywhere special he wanted to go. We just checked into a hotel and enjoyed the pool.

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Super Jumps!

Joshua was a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. He wouldn’t stop pointing and saying, “Oooo!” The big boys loved every minute of it!

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He was happy when he could touch the floor.

After a big breakfast at the hotel on Sunday, we travelled the rest of the way up to Marion, Indiana to World Gospel Mission headquarters. It was about lunch time when we arrived, so we found wings for Noah. (Wings was one of his birthday wishes.) Aaron and the birthday boy shared a large order of wings, and Noah made his daddy proud by eating the spicy ones!

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Monday was Noah’s actual 10th birthday. I decorated his door and the dining hall at headquarters. He requested sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast and subs for supper. Also at his request, the boys enjoyed a no-school day and played with his new Star Wars Legos as much as possible.

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Wednesday was also an exciting day. After the boys finished their school work, lunch, and chores, they were treated to a fun snow experience!

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While the boy were busy having fun, Aaron and I were fulfilling the purpose of the visit to WGM headquarters. We were attending meetings and learning so much about being missionaries with WGM. Although it is a completely different world compared to our first missionary term with World Medical Mission, we came away from the week encouraged and excited for this next phase of missionary work. In the next weeks and months, we hope to put our new knowledge to work, so expect to hear about how you can get involved in our ministry.

After leaving headquarters, we ate lunch with some friends and drove the entire way home to Virginia! It took us about 10 hours, but it was well worth the work. When we woke up Friday morning, the snow had already begun to lay on the ground!

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Friday, January 22, was Hannah’s birthday. It was a bittersweet day to say the least. All of our plans of celebration were foiled by the weather, so we made an eggless cake (because we had no eggs) with pink icing. We couldn’t release pink balloons or visit her grave, but we did take time to remember her. It’s hard to believe that she’d be 4 years old. We miss her so much. Thank you to those who remembered and sent messages and/or called to express your thoughts. We are blessed to be loved so well by so many.

The boys had a blast playing in the snow and making snow angels. We decided the snow was a gift from Hannah. 🙂

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Friday also marked the 20 week milestone of my pregnancy! I can’t believe how quickly it’s going…and how big I am!

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Through all the ups and downs of the week, God remained faithful. Just like He always does. As missionaries, we often quote the Great Commission, and we focus on the part about going out in the world to share the Gospel and make disciples. Today, however, I want to draw our attention to the beginning and the end of Jesus’ words: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me... And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18,20) Jesus is with us today, right now. He will always be with us. Please remember, no matter what today brings or what crazy thing God might be asking you to do, we are not alone. If God wills it, He will prove a way.

God bless you!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  1. Praise God for His abundant blessings!
  2. Praise God for His Word!
  3. Praise God for people who willingly walk with us through the ups and downs of life.
  4. Please pray special blessings on Noah in honor of his birthday.
  5. Please continue to pray for the selling of our house.
  6. Please continue to pray for my pregnancy, homeschooling, and our travels.
  7. Pray for good ministry opportunities here in the States.
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December Blessings

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And here it is. The last post of 2015. (Yes, I know it’s 2016, but this post is about December.) At the beginning of 2015, I was convicted to be more verbal about the blessings God bestows on me, so I started writing a post about it each month. This will be the last one. That doesn’t mean that I’m no longer looking for or acknowledging the blessings I receive. It’s just time to do something new. I’m not sure I’ll have a theme for 2016, but I will try to post at least once a month.

I’ll start with our annual, in-front-of-the-tree Christmas card picture. This was as good as it got this year…

If you didn't get a Christmas card this year, I'm sorry! We tried our best to remember everyone. So many got returned to us. If you think you might be one of those people, e-mail me your new address. :)

If you didn’t get a Christmas card this year, I’m sorry! We tried our best to remember everyone. So many got returned to us. If you think you might be one of those people, e-mail me your new address. 🙂

December is always a special month. I just love Advent and Christmas and the school break. I usually enjoy the chilly weather (and my winter wardrobe), but I haven’t seen true winter weather for the last couple of years.

I’m as giddy as the kids over our traditions and gifts and Christmas Eve service. Here are a couple of pictures of the traditions we enjoyed as a family.

Here is Noah decorating his gingerbread house.

We decorated gingerbread houses.

 

The boys decorated the little tree with Army men.

The boys decorated the little tree with Army men.

But this year was a little different. We are in a different place without much of our normal Christmas things. There was no Little People Nativity set, no Christmas story books, and no Advent calendar. All those things are in Kenya, or on a container waiting to get to Tenwek. Instead of our normal daily countdown to Christmas, we enjoyed A Star From Afar and Adventures in Odyssey’s Countdown to Christmas. I was too tired for dozens of cookies, so I settled for two batches of Chex Mix, Jesus’ birthday cake, and Grandpa K’s sticky buns. (That was plenty of fat and sugar anyway!!) Rather than staying home all Christmas day, we travelled all the way to Pennsylvania as soon as our morning festivities were over. Definitely different, but very blessed. Here are a few pictures to show our Christmas excitement.

Reading the Christmas story.

Reading the Christmas story.

FAVORITE part of the morning: all the spontaneous love and excitement as the boys exchanged gifts that they paid for with their own money!

FAVORITE part of the morning: all the spontaneous love and excitement as the boys exchanged gifts that they paid for with their own money!

Happy Birthday to Jesus cake!

Happy Birthday to Jesus cake!

We celebrated Christmas a little early with Aaron’s sister and her family. Then, we celebrated with the rest of the family either Christmas evening or the day after.

Christmas with Nana and Pappy Phil!

Christmas with Nana and Pappy Phil!

 

Christmas with Grammy and Pappy Snyder!

Christmas with Grammy and Pappy Snyder!

Christmas with my mom's family!

Christmas with my mom’s family!

I think the boys were sufficiently spoiled with cousin-time, grandparent-time, good food, and lots of presents. However, Christmas was not the only source of blessing this month.

Levi passed both his hearing and vision screenings! Praise God!! He actually enjoyed the hearing test because he got to sit in a sound-proof room, which was a little too spy-like. They were jealous that they didn’t get to wear the special headgear and hear the secret sounds from the computer. Jacob insisted that he failed his hearing screening so that he could do it too!

Levi had to wear my sunglasses because his eyes were dilated.

Levi had to wear my sunglasses because his eyes were dilated.

Another big blessing was that our schedule slowed down considerably! It was nice to attend the same church two consecutive Sundays, rest on the weekends, and enjoy Advent. This rest was much needed and appreciated.

School went well between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then after Christmas until the New Year. We enjoyed France and Germany. I made a creamy, yummy chicken dish to celebrate France. Then, on New Year’s Day, we enjoyed sauerkraut and bratwursts to celebrate both the holiday and the end of our studies of Germany.

Joshua got his first real haircut. I’m surprised he still loves Aaron! (I promise he wasn’t hurt during the procedure! He just didn’t like the sound or feel of the razor on his neck!)

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Well, there you have it! The twelfth month of blessings! I’ll end with an outtake from our Christmas card photo session.

He loves the camera up close.

He loves the camera up close.

Prayer Requests:

  1. Please pray that our house in Allentown sells.
  2. Please pray that God would continue to raise up a support team for us.
  3. Pray that we would find time to rest and be restored as our traveling schedule gets crazy busy from now until the baby is born.
  4. Pray for the baby and my pregnancy.
  5. Pray for health of all. We are passing around a cold. Not a big deal, but we have a lot of driving to do this coming weekend. Please pray that everyone will be well by Saturday morning.

“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” Colossians 1:3

We truly appreciate your love, support, prayers, and encouragement!!